Space and astronomy news and information for the American Southwest. Coverage includes Vandenberg AFB rocket and missile launches.

Vandenberg Launches Minuteman III

Vandenberg AFB News Release

2008 April 2

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. A Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile configured with a National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) test assembly was launched from North Vandenberg today at 1:01 a.m.

The launch was an operational test to determine the weapon system's reliability and accuracy.

The missile's single unarmed re-entry vehicle traveled approximately 4,200 miles to its pre-determined target at the Reagan Test Site located in the Marshall Islands.

The data collected will be used by the entire ICBM community, including the United States Strategic Command planners and the Program Office at Hill AFB, UT and the NNSA/Department of Energy laboratories: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories and Sandia National Laboratories.

Col. Michael E. Fortney, 30th Space Wing vice commander, was the spacelift commander. Lt. Col. Lesa K. Toler, 576th Flight Test Squadron commander, was the mission director for this test launch.

"A huge thank you to everyone involved in the preparation and execution of this mission," said Lt. Col. Toler. "We met our test objectives but ultimately proved our nations nuclear ICBM force is reliable and will continue to play a vital role in deterrence and security of the United States."

"An outstanding display of teamwork ensured 100-percent mission success," Colonel Fortney said. "We constantly focus on flawless execution of our launch, range and expeditionary missions. I am extremely proud of the collaboration between the 30th SW and the 576th FLTS."

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