U.S. Air Force to test launch another missile from Vandenberg

The test will be the second missile launched from the base in a week’s time. (Sign up for our free video newsletter here

The U.S. Air Force will test launch an unarmed intercontinental ballistic missile Wednesday from Vandenberg Air Force Base – the second test in a week.

The Minuteman III missile launch will occur between 12:01 and 6:01 a.m. from the base northwest of Santa Barbara, according to Vandenberg's 30th Space Wing.


"The purpose of the ICBM test launch program is to validate and verify the effectiveness, readiness and accuracy of the weapon system," Air Force Global Strike Command said in a statement.

The 576th Flight Test Squadron will be responsible for collecting data of the missile and ensuring safety, the Air Force said.

Vandenberg Air Force Base and the 576th Flight Test Squadron have been preparing for the operational test launch for the last 10 months, Col. Chris Moss, Vandenberg's 30th Space Wing commander, said in a statement.

The test will be the second missile launched from the base in a week's time.

A test was conducted by the Air Force Global Strike Command's team on April 26 from the base. Air Force officials said the test launch was an operational test to show the country's nuclear deterrent capability.

The missile traveled 4,200 miles to a test range in Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands, according to the Air Force.

The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization based in San Barbara, has criticized the timing and the Air Force's motives for both launches. The organization has said the launches come amid heightened tension between the U.S. and North Korea.

On Friday, North Korea's military launched a ballistic missile hours after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called on the United Nations Security Council to impose new economic sanctions on the country. The weapon apparently crashed nearby or in waters just offshore.

North Korea has stepped up its missile testing in recent weeks, having test launched at least seven short- and mid-range missile this year.

"This is a very dangerous game we are playing," the peace organization's president David Krieger said in the statement.

Wednesday's test will be the third ICBM launched from the base this year.

The other test missile launch occurred in February. The missile equipped with a nonexplosive payload also traveled to a test range in Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands.

Three Minuteman III missiles were launched in 2016, according to Lt. Col. Jason Turner, 2d Range Operations Squadron commander.


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