An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

HomeNewsArticle Display

Team Vandenberg conducts Minuteman III flight test

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – A crowd gathers at the Reagan Memorial site for a Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile launch at 4 a.m. here Wednesday, June 22, 2011. Inclement downrange weather and an interruption in communication with the Airborne Launch Control System led to unprogrammed holds in the countdown resulting in a launch time of 6:35 a.m. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Lael Huss)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – A crowd gathers at the Reagan Memorial site for a Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile launch at 4 a.m. here Wednesday, June 22, 2011. Inclement downrange weather and an interruption in communication with the Airborne Launch Control System led to unprogrammed holds in the countdown resulting in a launch time of 6:35 a.m. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Lael Huss)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – A Minuteman III contrail was seen above the marine layer at the Reagan Memorial site here Wednesday, June 22, 2011. Inclement downrange weather and an interruption in communication with the Airborne Launch Control System led to unprogrammed holds in the countdown resulting in a launch time of 6:35 a.m. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Lael Huss)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – A Minuteman III contrail was seen above the marine layer at the Reagan Memorial site here Wednesday, June 22, 2011. Inclement downrange weather and an interruption in communication with the Airborne Launch Control System led to unprogrammed holds in the countdown resulting in a launch time of 6:35 a.m. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Lael Huss)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- A scheduled unarmed operational test Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile launch occurred at 6:35 a.m. June 22 from Launch Facility-10 here.

Inclement downrange weather and an interruption in communication with the Airborne Launch Control System led to unprogrammed holds in the countdown. Furthermore, boats detected at different times in the hazard area resulted in additional unprogrammed holds. Still, those issues were overcome allowing for a safe launch within the established window.

"We train constantly working through scenarios such as those we faced real-time this morning," said Col. Keith Balts, 30th Space Wing vice commander and launch decision authority. "Without a doubt, Team Vandenberg performed brilliantly in ensuring safe range operations and a successful launch."

The missile's single reentry test vehicle traveled approximately 4,200 miles to a pre-determined target near the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands. ICBM analysts, including the Department of Defense and the Department of Energy, will use the data collected to ensure the readiness and capability of the ICBM fleet.

"The launch process requires tremendous teamwork and involves months of preparation," said Col. David Bliesner, 576th Flight Test Squadron commander. "The data gained from these launches allows us to maintain a high readiness capability and ensures operational effectiveness of the most powerful weapons in the nation's arsenal."

The launch was a combined effort of the 576th FLTS here; 91st Missile Wing, Minot AFB, N.D.; 625th Strategic Operations Squadron, Offutt AFB, Neb.; and the 30th Space Wing here.