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

Minuteman III Launch

Vandenberg AFB News Release

2005 April 25

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

A task force from the 91st Space Wing, Minot AFB, N.D. will launch the missile under the direction of the 576th Flight Test Squadron here. Capt. Olek Wojnar, 576th FLTS, is the launch director.

Col. Frank Gallegos, 30th Space Wing commander, is the spacelift commander. The mission director is Lt. Col. Anthony Baylock, 576th FLTS commander. Members of the 595th Space Group here installed tracking, telemetry and command destruct systems on the missile to collect data and meet safety requirements.

The missile's two 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.

*This probably should say PDT rather than PST - Webmaster.

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