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Local News

Vandenberg Postpones Test Launch of Unarmed Minuteman III Missile

An unarmed Minuteman III missile that was set to launch early Tuesday from Vandenberg Air Force Base to test the effectiveness of the weapon system has been delayed because of a range safety instrumentation issue.

The operational test launch of the intercontinental ballistic missile, which involves a single re-entry vehicle, was scheduled to lift off sometime between 3:01 and 9:01 a.m. from the north end of Vandenberg. It has been rescheduled for Wednesday with a launch window of 3:01 to 9:01 a.m.

The missile’s unarmed vehicle is expected to travel approximately 4,190 miles to the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands, according to Air Force Global Strike Command.

Col. Brent McArthur, 30th Space Wing vice commander, will be the launch-decision authority.

“Extensive resources are devoted to every launch mission to ensure safety in our local area and downrange,” McArthur said. “Public safety is my first priority during all launch operations.”

Along with verifying the missile’s readiness and accuracy, the test is meant to assist the U.S. Air Force in sustaining and modernizing the Minuteman III through 2030.

“These tests provide us the opportunity to demonstrate the readiness of the ICBM force,” said Col. Richard Pagliuco, 576th Flight Test Squadron commander. “Every test provides valuable data regarding the accuracy and reliability of the weapon system.”

The 576th Flight Test Squadron will direct the launch, assisted by crew members from the 91st Missile Wing at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota.

Data from the launch will be used by agencies across the U.S. Department of Defense and the Department of Energy.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff 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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