090220 VAFB Minuteman III launch

An Air Force Global Strike Command unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile launches during an operational test shortly after midnight Wednesday from Vandenberg Air Force Base. The missile is part of the United States' nuclear weapons system.

An unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base early Wednesday as part of an operational test.

The missile, which is part of the nation’s nuclear weapons system, was fired shortly after 12:03 a.m. The purpose of the test, according to Air Force Global Strike Command, was to validate and verify the safety, security, effectiveness and reliability of the weapon system.

Col. Kris Barcomb, 30th Operations Group commander, was the launch decision authority.

“Our outstanding airmen and space professionals continue to showcase flawless execution and teamwork between the 30th Space Wing and the 576th Flight Test Squadron,” Barcomb said. “This test launch represents another successful demonstration of our nation’s capability and underscores the fact that our nuclear enterprise is safe, secure, reliable, effective and ready to defend the United States and our allies.”

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