Skip to comments.Minuteman III launch successful
Posted on 06/14/2006 6:13:14 PM PDT by SandRat
6/14/2006 - VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (AFPN) -- An unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile was launched from Launch Facility-04 on North Vandenberg at 1:22 a.m. today.
The primary purpose of the launch was to assess and demonstrate the operational effectiveness of the Minuteman III weapon system.
The missiles three unarmed re-entry vehicles traveled approximately 4,800 miles in about 30 minutes, hitting pre-determined targets at the Kwajelin Missile Range in the western chain of the Marshall Islands.
Col. Jack Weinstein, 30th Space Wing commander, was the spacelift commander. Lt. Col. S.L. Davis, 576th Flight Test Squadron commander, was the mission director.
This specific test will provide key accuracy and reliability data for ongoing and future modifications to the weapon system, which are key to improving the already impressive effectiveness of the Minuteman III force, Colonel Davis said
The data collected from the mission will be used by the entire ICBM community, the Department of Defense and the Department of Energy.
Each successful launch provides information critical in maintaining and improving our superior space force, Colonel Weinstein said. Its important that each Airman who sees one of these launches, knows that he or she helped make that happen, regardless of (his or her) specialty.
The reliability and accuracy data will also be used by United States Strategic Command planners to ensure effective employment of the Minuteman III, should it be required.
I watched a couple of these test launches close up at Vandenberg back in the late 70s. Watching them launch at night was a spectacular sight. I was a ground keyturner at Minot and an airborne keyturner on the old SAC airborne command post.
I got to see a night launch once. I recall that for about 15 seconds, the entire area around you looks exactly like the daytime because the rocket's so bright.
You should see one coming at you.
Thankfully you never had to turn the keys for real.
Last time (and only) time I went to Vandenburg to watch a launch, it was nothing but fog. Couldn't see a thing.
No, practiced all of the procedures constantly, but never had an actual keyturn (obviously). I thought I was close twice. I was on alert (Minuteman) both times the Norad computers put out false inbound indications.
When I was taking a class on military aviation history, we discussed those two NORAD incidents @ length. It's amazing how a simple computer error could have been so dangerous. Thankfully we had enough safeguards in place to stop the situation from getting out of hand.
The Marshall islands aren’t that far from China and North Korea. Anyone else think this launch had a dual purpose?