An LGM-30 Minuteman rocket, also known as a Minuteman III, was successfully launched today from Vandenberg Air Force Base, at 3:01 PDT.
- The letter “L” in “LGM” indicates that the missile is silo-launched
- The “G” indicates that it is designed to attack ground targets
- The “M” indicates that it is a guided missile
Under a full moon, the rocket lifted off from Launch-Facility 10 (LF-10) which is Minuteman rocket launch silo complex at Vandenberg. The unarmed weapon was topped with a dummy warhead — typically a re-entry vehicle equipped with sensors to gather reams of data.
Another Minuteman test is scheduled for early Thursday 26th. Both tests are part of an ongoing program to collect data about the reliability and accuracy of the nation’s Minuteman 3 weapon fleet. A task force for both launches includes members from the 90th Missile Wing, F.E. Warren AFB, Wyo., and 91st Missile Wing, Minot AFB, N.D., officials said. They handle chores associated with readying and launching the weapons. The 576th Flight Test Squadron, which is based at Vandenberg, installs all the test-unique equipment on the weapons.
The ICBM was named Minuteman after the Revolutionary War’s Minutemen who were able to respond quickly to a threat during the war with England. The missile can be prepared and launched in minutes after a valid launch order has been issued and plans are to keep the missile in service until 2030. There are currently 450 Minuteman III missiles in silos located in Montana, North Dakota and Wyoming.