Thursday, January 12, 2012

Air Force Launches Suborbital Ballistic Missile In Weapons Test

An unarmed intercontinental ballistic missile blasted off early Friday (Sept. 17) in the latest successful weapons test by the U.S. Air Force.

The Minuteman 3 missile launched from California's Vandenberg Air Force Base, sending a single re-entry test vehicle into suborbital space on a flight that soared some 5,300 miles (8,530 km) across the Pacific Ocean. The test vehicle hit a pre-determined target about 200 miles (322 km) southwest of Guam, the Air Force said in a statement.

Liftoff occurred at 3:03 a.m. local time (6:03 a.m. EDT, 1003 GMT) from Launch Facility-09 at the Vandenberg base. A long-exposure photo of the launch showed the missile leave an arc of light across the predawn western sky. [Photo of the Air Force missile launch.]

A team of ICBM analysts are studying the Minuteman 3 missile launch as part of an ongoing evaluation on the readiness of the U.S. military's ICBM arsenal, Air Force officials said.? That team includes experts from the Department of Defense and Department of Energy, they added.


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