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Vandenberg launches Minuteman III

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An unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile configured with a National Nuclear Security Administration test assembly launched from North Vandenberg today at 9:01 a.m. 

The launch was an operational test to verify the weapon system's reliability and accuracy. 

The missile carried one unarmed re-entry vehicle approximately 4,190 miles at speeds in excess of 15,000 mph to a pre-determined target near the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands. 

Col. Steven Winters, the 30th Space Wing vice commander, was the mission's launch decision authority. Col. Carl T. DeKemper, the 576th Flight Test Squadron commander, was the mission director for this test launch. 

Throughout the preparation and execution of the mission, maintenance and operations task force personnel from the 341st Missile Wing, Malmstrom AFB, Montana, integrated with the 576th FLTS to perform operational tasks. Members of the 576th FLTS installed tracking, telemetry and command destruct systems on the missile to collect data and meet 30th Space Wing safety requirements. 

The data collected will be used by the entire ICBM community, including the United States Strategic Command planners and Department of Energy laboratories.