CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., March 3--A roaring Juno II rocket was launched early this morning carrying Pioneer IV, a potential sun planet. The goal of Army scientists was to hurl a 13-pound gold-plated satellite past the moon, 221,000 miles away, in 34 hours and ultimately into a solar orbit a half million miles from earth.
It was the second Army shoot at the moon and beyond, a feat the Soviets claim they accomplished with their 1 1/2 ton Mechta dream probe Jan. 4.
Pioneer IV is a conical-shaped orb loaded with instrumentation to measure two doughnut shaped radition fields that pose a threat to manned space travel.
The bullet-shaped Juno II is a modified Jupiter intermediate range ballistic missile topped by three stages of spinning Sergeant rockets. The whole assembly as it left the earth was 76 feet long and weighed about 60 tons with its fuel.
Secretary Backs Berlin Stand
WASHINGTON, March 2--U.S. military forces are ready to support President Eisenhower's avowed determination to stand fast on American rights in Berlin, Secretary of Defense Neil H. McElroy told Congress today.
"We think we have a definite offensive superiority over the Russians at this time," McElroy said in discussing the situation with the House Space Committee.
While voicing doubt the Russians want to start a war, the secretary told the congressmen, "We are prepared to meet various stages of the Berlin situation as it develops."
McElroy also said it will be some years before the United States has a defense against missiles--and even then there is no guarantee it can stop more than a modest number launched in mass attack.
Macmillan Concludes Talks
MOSCOW, March 2--The Soviet Union agreed today to a foreign ministers' conference on West Berlin and a German peace treaty, though stressing that it would still prefer summit talks.
A friendly windup to British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan's mission to Moscow attended the dispatch of Soviet notes to the Western Big Three and West Germany on these chief problems of the cold war.
The Kremlin assented to Western proposals for a conference in Vienna or Geneva and suggested it start in April with a time limit of two or three months for completion of its work.
Western diplomats said the proposal showed the Soviet Union has long since scrapped May 27 as an absolute deadline for settlement of the West Berlin question.