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

Minuteman III Launch

Vandenberg AFB News Release

2005 August 19

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – An unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile is scheduled for launch from North Vandenberg August 25 as part of a developmental test to demonstrate the ability to integrate a safety enhanced re-entry vehicle into the existing Minuteman III weapons system. The six-hour launch window is from 1:01 a.m. to 7:01 a.m. PST*.

The missile will launch under the direction of the 576th Flight Test Squadron here. Captain Justine Adams, 576 FLTS, is the launch director. The 576 FLTS commander, Lt Col S.L. Davis is the mission director. Col Jack Weinstein, 30th Space Wing commander, is the spacelift commander.

Members of the 576 FLTS have performed maintenance activities to include missile emplacement and installation of unique missile tracking, telemetry and command destruct systems to collect test data and meet safety requirements. In addition, missile crew members deployed from the 564th Missile Squadon, Malmstrom AFB, Montana led by Capt David Washer, along with members of the 576 FLTS Top Hand program will conduct missile crew duties to include issuing the final launch command.

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 Ronald Reagan Test Site near the Kwajalein Atoll in the western chain of the Marshall Islands. This test continues a long tradition of ICBM test launches from Vandenberg AFB that serve to ensure a safe, secure and effective weapon system that that is critical to continued global stability.

The best public viewing site for this launch is at a cement pad on Skyscreen Road off of Corral Road just before reaching the Weather Station.

*This probably should say PDT rather than PST - Webmaster.

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