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Vandenberg launches Minuteman III

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An unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile was launched from North Vandenberg today at 12:14 a.m.

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

The missile's single unarmed re-entry vehicle traveled approximately 4,200 miles before hitting its pre-determined target at the Reagan Test Site located in the Marshall Islands.

The data collected will be used by the entire ICBM community, including the Department of Defense and the Department of Energy.

The reliability and accuracy data will also be used by United States Strategic Command planners.

Col. Jack Weinstein, 30th Space Wing commander, was the spacelift commander.

Lt. Col. S. L. Davis, 576th Flight Test Squadron commander, was the mission director for this launch.

"While it can seem routine, each launch test requires considerable time and effort from the 200-plus Airmen in the 576th FLTS," said Colonel Davis. "As a result, USSTRATCOM planners will be able to more effectively employ the nation's ICBM force should it be required."

"An outstanding display of teamwork ensured 100-percent mission success for the first west coast launch of the year," Colonel Weinstein said. "We constantly focus on flawless execution of our launch, range and expeditionary missions. I am extremely proud of the collaboration between the 30th SW and the 576th FLTS."