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Vandenberg launches ground-based interceptor

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. - The 30th Space Wing and Missile Defense Agency launched a ground-based interceptor at 3:25 p.m. Sunday, June 6, 2010, from North Vandenberg. This was the first missile defense program launch from Vandenberg's Launch Facility 24, which was recently upgraded to support missile defense testing. (US Air Force photo/Senior Airman Andrew Satran)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. - The 30th Space Wing and Missile Defense Agency launched a ground-based interceptor at 3:25 p.m. Sunday, June 6, 2010, from North Vandenberg. This was the first missile defense program launch from Vandenberg's Launch Facility 24, which was recently upgraded to support missile defense testing. (US Air Force photo/Senior Airman Andrew Satran)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – Rick Winer, an Orbital electrical engineer, and his son Joshua, view the launch of a ground-based interceptor at Vandenberg’s Ronald Reagan Memorial site Sunday, June 6, 2010. This was the first missile defense program launch from Vandenberg's Launch Facility 24, which was recently upgraded to support missile defense testing. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Andrew Satran)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – Rick Winer, an Orbital electrical engineer, and his son Joshua, view the launch of a ground-based interceptor at Vandenberg’s Ronald Reagan Memorial site Sunday, June 6, 2010. This was the first missile defense program launch from Vandenberg's Launch Facility 24, which was recently upgraded to support missile defense testing. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Andrew Satran)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- The 30th Space Wing and Missile Defense Agency launched a ground-based interceptor at 3:25 p.m. June 6 from North Vandenberg. The launch was a flight test for a two-stage variant of the operationally-configured three-stage interceptor now deployed at Vandenberg AFB.

The test was solely for data collection purposes and system performance evaluation. There was no target launch or intercept attempt for this mission.

"Executing a successful launch like this requires a great deal of work from many people in various organizations and Team Vandenberg performed magnificently," said Col. Richard Boltz, 30th Space Wing commander and Launch Decision Authority for today's launch.

This launch was Col. Boltz's first as wing commander; however, the 22-year career Air Force officer is no stranger to the spacelift mission, having previously served at Vandenberg as a mission flight control officer in the mid 1990's.

"It's great to be back in the launch business after being away from it for 15 years."

This was the first missile defense program launch from Vandenberg AFB's Launch Facility 24, which was recently upgraded to support missile defense testing. Previous interceptor launches have been conducted at nearby Launch Facility 23.