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

Minuteman Launch Scheduled

Vandenberg AFB News Release

2004 September 13

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – An unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile is scheduled for launch from North Vandenberg Wednesday morning [September 15] as part of the Force Development Evaluation Program. The six-hour launch window is from 1:01 to 7:01 a.m. The purpose of the launch is to verify the continued reliability and accuracy of the Minuteman III ICBM force.

Operations crewmembers from the 341st Space Wing, Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mt., led by Capt Bernie Isenberg, will launch the missile under the direction of the 576th Flight Test Squadron here. Capt Jerry Buchanan, 576th FLTS, is the launch director.

Col Frank Gallegos, 30th Space Wing Commander, is the spacelift commander. The mission director is Lt Col Don Hale, 576th FLTS Operations Officer. 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 three unarmed re-entry vehicles are 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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