First air drop test of a thermonuclear weapon. The weapon was dropped from a USAF B-52 bomber (not seen) that flew from Fred Island, Eniwetak (sometimes spelled Enewetak or Eniewetok), on May 21, 1956. View appears to be from an aircraft flying above altocumulus clouds, below higher stratiform layers. The film begins with a complete whiteout from the initial fireball. As that subsides, local stratiform clouds take on a rosy hue and the center fireball is seen rising above them. As the fireball rises, it takes on a somewhat hemispherical shape, flat on the bottom, from which a straight stem-like column extends toward the ground. The light of the explosion slowly fades and complete darkness ensues. Official accounts state that the intended ground zero was directly over Namu Island, but the flight crew mistook an observation facility on a different island for their targeting beacon with the result that the weapon delivery was grossly in error. The bomb detonated some 4 miles off target over the ocean northeast of Namu. As a result essentially all of the weapons effects data was lost. ( Note: According to ancillary reports, the delivery error resulted in blast overpressures and thermal effects on the 6 structural response targets between Iroij and Namu Islands, greatly exceeding specifications for any use in scientific military modeling of high yield aerial detonations. Plans for graded damages analysis failed when all the structures collapsed. Effects cameras also failed from the intense fireball heat.)
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