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Vandenberg Air Force Base Conducts Minuteman Missile Test Launch

Launch was conducted at 3:36 a.m. Monday after one-day delay due to technical glitch

An unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile launches at 3:36 a.m. Monday at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. The missile was randomly selected from F. E. Warren AFB, Wyo. as a part of the system’s operational test and evaluation program, which provides valuable data to evaluators and validates the reliability of the ICBM fleet.
An unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile launches at 3:36 a.m. Monday at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. The missile was randomly selected from F. E. Warren AFB, Wyo. as a part of the system’s operational test and evaluation program, which provides valuable data to evaluators and validates the reliability of the ICBM fleet.  ((Joe Davila / U.S. Air Force photo))

After a one-day delay due to a technical glitch, an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile launched early Monday morning from north Vandenberg Air Force Base.

The three-stage weapon blasted out of its underground silo at 3:36 a.m. Monday. 

"While ICBM launches from Vandenberg Air Force Base almost seem routine, each one requires a tremendous amount of effort and absolute attention to detail in order to accurately and safely assess the current performance and capability of the nation's fielded ICBM force," said Col. Keith Balts, 30th Space Wing commander who also served as the launch decision authority.

"This specific test will provide key accuracy and reliability data for on-going and future modifications to the weapon system, which are key to improving the already impressive effectiveness of the Minuteman 3 force,” Balts said. 

Vandenberg officials blamed the postponement from Sunday on the need to correct a faulty telemetry link used only on test missiles.

An unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile launches at 3:36 a.m. Monday at Vandenberg Air Force Base. (Joe Davila / U.S. Air Force photo)

The launch team, under the direction of Vandenberg’s 576th Flight Test Squadron, included crew members and maintenance personnel from the 90th Missile Wing, F.E. Warren AFB, Wyoming.

Members of the 576th were responsible for installing test-unique equipment such as tracking, telemetry and command destruct systems on the missile to collect data and ensure the weapon remains safely on its flight path.

The nation has some 450 Minuteman III missiles on alert near bases in Wyoming, Montana and North Dakota. 

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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