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Minuteman launch rescheduled

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- The launch of an Air Force Global Strike Command unarmed operational test Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile has been rescheduled to launch from north Vandenberg Friday, Sept. 17, between 3 a.m. and 9 a.m.

The missile's single unarmed re-entry vehicle is expected to travel approximately 5,300 miles, to a pre-determined target about 200 miles southwest of Guam.

The launch has been rescheduled because of the need to ensure data collection equipment in the impact area is fully ready, according to officials. Neither the missile nor any missile launch mechanisms at Vandenberg are the cause of the delay, officials said.

"As with all launches, stringent criteria must be met before we proceed with the test," said Colonel David Bliesner, 576th Flight Test Squadron commander. "It is important to be able to gather as much data as possible to properly assess the capability, operational effectiveness, readiness and accuracy of the ICBM missile force."

The launch is one of a continuing series of pre-scheduled operational tests to ensure the weapon system's reliability and accuracy, officials said.

For more information, please call Air Force Global Strike Command public affairs at 318-456-0824.