VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (AP) — An unarmed Minuteman 3 intercontinental ballistic missile has been launched from a U.S. Air Force Base in California on a flight to a target in the Pacific Ocean.
The missile lifted off at 12:03 a.m. Wednesday from Vandenberg Air Force Base, 130 miles northwest of Los Angeles.
An Air Force statement said the mission was part of a program to test the effectiveness, readiness, and accuracy of the weapon system.
The 30th Space Wing commander, Col. John Moss, said Minuteman launches are essential to verify the status of the U.S. nuclear force and to demonstrate the national nuclear capabilities.
In a Minuteman test, a so-called re-entry vehicle travels more than 4,000 miles downrange to a target at Kwajalein Atoll near the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands.