Vandenberg Launches ’Nother Nuke-Capable Missile

Marks the Second Test in Two Weeks; Next Scheduled for September

Vandenberg Air Force Base launched a nuke-capable missile early this morning, June 30 — the second of three operational flight tests for the Minuteman III missile this fiscal year, as reported in a Vandenberg press release.

The Minuteman III is an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) designed with nuclear capabilities but tested with conventional weapons; about 450 missiles are reported to exist in the U.S.

The 576th Flight Test Squadron installed tracking, telemetry, and command destruct systems on the missile, according to the release, and looked to gauge the missile’s reliability and accuracy. It traveled 4,200 miles before reaching its destination in the Marshall Islands.

This content requires Flash and Javascript.

You are viewing this message because JavaScript is not installed, enabled, or you are using a mobile device with poor JavaScript support.

If JavaScript is installed and enabled, you may need to install or upgrade your Adobe Flash player:
Get Adobe Flash player

Another Minuteman III test took place about two weeks ago, on June 16, and was reported successful: “Any mission that collects data to test and evaluate mandatory objectives is considered a successful test,” said Major Chris Karns of the Air Force Global Strike Command Public Affairs.

Karns reported that flight tests are forecast five years in advance, based on the availability of the missile’s testing range. The third launch is reportedly scheduled for September, with next year’s schedule forecasting launches in March, July, and August.

According to Vandenberg historic records, the today marked the 1,900th launch for Vandenberg AFB since the Air Force assumed the mission in 1957.

This 1,900th launch marks another milestone in the history of Vandenberg and the contribution Vandenberg has had as not only contributing to the nation’s security, but also a continuing player in our nuclear deterrence role and overall space and missile launch history of the United States,” said Col. Steven Winters, the 30th Space Wing vice commander and the Launch Decision Authority for this launch.

To submit a comment on this article, email or visit our Facebook page. To submit information to a reporter, email

event calendar sponsored by:

Pair of F-22s Buzz Santa Barbara City College

Turbulence rattles windows and nerves on Monday morning.

Mandatory Evacuation Called for Fire Zones in Santa Barbara County

Heavy rains expected Tuesday-Thursday; debris flows feared.

Cannabis Farmer Gets Over $1 Million Insurance Payout

Thomas Fire ash destroys crop; analysis finds asbestos, lead, arsenic, and magnesium.

Next Debris Flow Could Take Different, Unknown Path

"I've never seen this degree of hazard," says Cal Fire scientist.

Biggest Storm Since 1/9 Approaching Santa Barbara

The storm system brings increased threat of flash floods and debris flows.