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Minuteman 3 missile reaches target area

Nov. 14, 2012 - 10:25AM   |   Last Updated: Nov. 14, 2012 - 10:25AM  |  
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VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. — An unarmed intercontinental ballistic missile blasted from a silo at the West Coast's Vandenberg Air Force Base early Wednesday and successfully reached a target area 4,200 miles away in the Pacific Ocean, the Air Force said.

The Minuteman 3 missile with a simulated re-entry vehicle was launched at 3:07 a.m. Wednesday, and it reached the Kwajalein Atoll about 30 minutes later, said Col. Brent McArthur, vice commander of Vandenberg's 30th Space Wing.

The launch was initiated by an aircraft crew employing the Airborne Launch Control System.

The military conducts several Minuteman 3 tests each year at the Santa Barbara County base to determine the weapon system's accuracy and reliability.

Vandenberg's 576th Flight Test Squadron installs tracking, telemetry and command destruct systems for the missions.

A task force from the 341st Missile Wing at Montana's Malmstrom AFB handled launch operations.

"Today, Team Vandenberg and our mission partners' teamwork delivered another successful launch from America's West Coast spaceport," McArthur said in a news release.

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