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

Friday Minuteman III Launch

Vandenberg AFB News Release

2004 July 21

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – An unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile is scheduled for launch from North Vandenberg Friday morning as part of the Force Development Evaluation Program. The six-hour launch window is from 1:01 to 7:01 a.m. The purpose of the launch is to verify the continued reliability and accuracy of the Minuteman III ICBM force.

A task force from the 90th Space Wing, F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo., led by Capt. Jason Briggs, will launch the missile under the direction of the 576th Flight Test Squadron here. Capt. Barry Little, 576th FLTS, is the launch director.

Col. Frank Wolfe, 30th Space Wing vice commander, is the spacelift commander. The mission director is Lt. Col. Anthony Blaylock, 576th FLTS commander. Members of the 576th FLTS installed tracking, telemetry and command destruct systems on the missile to collect data and meet safety requirements.

The missile’s single unarmed re-entry vehicle is expected to travel approximately 4,200 miles in about 30 minutes, hitting a pre-determined target at the Kwajalein Missile Range in the western chain of the Marshall Islands. The nation’s ICBMs are a key component of global stability – a safe, secure and affordable weapon system that delivers deterrence.

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Copyright © 2004, Brian Webb. All rights reserved.