By David Hoffman Washington Post Foreign Service Sunday, March 15, 1998; Page A1 At dawn on the morning of Jan. 25, 1995, a four-stage Norwegian-U.S. joint research rocket, Black Brant XII, lifted off from an island off Norway's northwest coast.
The rocket was spotted by Russian early-warning radars. The radar operators sent an alert to Moscow. Within minutes, President Boris Yeltsin was brought his black nuclear-command suitcase. For several tense minutes, while Yeltsin spoke with his defense minister by telephone, confusion reigned.

The rocket "resembled a U.S.submarine-launched, multiple-stage ballistic missile." Theodore A. Postol, a professor at MIT, said that the Norwegian rocket may well have looked to the radar operators like a multistage missile launched from a Trident submarine.