Vandenberg AFB to host launch of unarmed Minuteman III missile; first such test since creation of Space Force
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Vandenberg AFB to host launch of unarmed Minuteman III missile; first such test since creation of Space Force

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Minuteman III (copy)

An unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile launches from north Vandenberg Air Force Base during an operational test on Oct. 2, 2019. A similar test is scheduled for the early-morning hours of Wednesday, Feb. 5. 

An unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile is slated to be launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base as part of the first test of its kind since the base became part of the new U.S. Space Force.

The developmental test launch of the ICBM, provided by Air Force Global Strike Command, is scheduled for a window that lasts from 12:08 a.m. to 6:08 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 5, from the northern portion of the base.

"This launch marks a very special moment in our nation's history," said Col. Anthony Mastalir, 30th Space Wing commander. "Providing the range support needed to facilitate this launch showcases how the Space Force will continue to support and integrate into the joint fight to ensure national security for our country."

Developmental testing provides valuable data to Air Force Global Strike Command and holistically tests the systems, procedures and airmen from the initial mission planning to the final weapons employment phases, according to the 30th Space Wing.

The Air Force reported that the test is unrelated to any real-world events.

The U.S. Space Force was established Dec. 20, 2019. As part of the move, the 14th Air Force, which had been based at VAFB, was officially redesignated as Space Operations Command under the Space Force umbrella.

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