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The World Never Came Closer To Nuclear War Than On January 25, 1995

•, Robert Johnson

When Norwegian Kolbjørn Adolfsen gave the nod to send a Black Brant rocket from the Andøya Rocket Range off the northwest coast of Norway to study the aurora borealis, he wasn't concerned at all.

Sure the Brant is a large, four-stage rocket that would fly to 930 miles above the earth near Russia, but he'd contacted the proper Kremlin authorities and hadn't given the flight a second thought.

What Adolfsen didn't know when he left the rocket base shortly after the missile was launched, is that the Brant's radar signature looks just like a U.S. sub-launched Trident missile.

The radar operators at Russia's Olenegorsk early warning station promptly reported the incoming missile to their superiors, but not a soul on duty within the military had been notified of Adolfsen's plans.
The officers at Olenegork believed it could be the first leg of a U.S. nuclear attack.

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