Space and astronomy news and information for the American Southwest. Coverage includes Vandenberg AFB rocket and missile launches.

Vandenberg AFB to Launch Minuteman III

Vandenberg AFB News Release

2004 March 22

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – An unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile is scheduled for launch from North Vandenberg Wednesday morning as part of AFSPC’s ICBM Force Development Evaluation Program. The six-hour launch window is from 12:01 to 6:01 a.m. The purpose of the launch is to verify the continued reliability and accuracy of the Minuteman III ICBM.

Missile Combat Crews from the 90th Space Wing at F.E. Warren AFB, Wyo., led by Capt. Matt Guenther, will launch the missile under the direction of the 576th Flight Test Squadron here. Capt. William Hojnowski, 576th FLTS, is the launch director.

Col. Frank Gallegos, 30th Space Wing commander, is the spacelift commander. The mission director is Lt. Col. Anthony Blaylock, 576th FLTS commander. Members of the 576th FLTS installed tracking, telemetry and command destruct systems on the missile to collect data and meet safety requirements.

The missile’s single unarmed re-entry vehicle is expected to travel approximately 4,200 miles in about 30 minutes, hitting a pre-determined target at the Kwajalein Missile Range in the western chain of the Marshall Islands. The nation’s ICBMs are a key component of global stability – a safe, secure and affordable weapon system that delivers deterrence.

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Copyright © 2004, Brian Webb. All rights reserved.