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

Vandenberg Launches Minuteman III

Vandenberg AFB News Release

2008 August 13

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – A Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile configured with a National Nuclear Security Administration, or NNSA, test assembly was launched from North Vandenberg today at 1:01 a.m.

The missile's three unarmed re-entry vehicles traveled approximately 4,220 nautical miles to pre-determined targets near the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands.

The missile launched under the direction of the 576th Flight Test Squadron. Operational tasks were conducted by maintenance and operations task force personnel from the 341st Missile Wing, Malmstrom AFB, Mont. Members of the 576th FLTS installed tracking, telemetry and command destruct systems on the missile to collect data and meet safety requirements.

Col. David J. Buck, 30th Space Wing commander, was the spacelift commander. Lt. Col. Lesa K. Toler, 576th Flight Test Squadron commander, was the mission director for this test launch.

“I’m very proud of the team of professionals involved in making this test a success.” Colonel Toler said. “Their technical expertise, dedication and adherence to ‘perfection as the standard’ have ensured our nation’s ICBM fleet is capable and extremely accurate.”

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

“For the past 50 years Vandenberg has been at the forefront of testing and improving American ballistic missiles,” Colonel Buck said. “Thanks to the hard work of Team Vandenberg, we continue a proud legacy of assuring the readiness and reliability of our ICBM fleet.”

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