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

Vandenberg Supports Test

Vandenberg AFB News Release

2008 September 24

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. - Vandenberg successfully launched a space launch vehicle, the Chimera target launch vehicle, which is a modified Minuteman booster vehicle with a simplified target payload at 11:57 p.m. today from North Vandenberg.

The launch was part of an exercise involving the tracking of a long-range target missile by the Near Field Infrared Experiment, or NFIRE, research satellite.

"For the past 50 years Vandenberg has been at the forefront of advancing space power." said Col. David J. Buck, 30th Space Wing commander. "This launch showcases Vandenberg Air Force Base's global impact and its critical role in advancing space and missile systems."

This exercise provided an opportunity for the NFIRE satellite to collect high- and low-resolution images of a boosting rocket which will improve understanding of missile exhaust plume observations and plume-to-rocket body discrimination.

Program officials will continue to evaluate system performance based upon telemetry and other data obtained during the exercise. The Missile Defense Agency, a joint service agency of the Department of Defense, will use this data to validate and update models and simulations that are fundamental to missile defense technologies.

This story was originally titled "Vandenberg Supports Missile Defense Tracking Test".

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