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News > ICBM Team Hill analyzing data from test launch
ICBM Team Hill analyzing data from test launch

Posted 11/14/2013   Updated 11/14/2013 Email story   Print story


by 576th Test Squadron

11/14/2013 - HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah  -- On Sept. 26 at 3:31 a.m. (PST), a scheduled unarmed operational test launch of a LGM-30G Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missile occurred at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., from Launch Facility 9. Glory Trip 208 carried one unarmed test Reentry Vehicle to a pre-determined target near the Kwajalein Atoll, part of the Marshall Islands, approximately 4,500 miles away.

This was a complicated mission supported by the ICBM Systems Directorate with assistance from Northrop Grumman and conducted by several entities working together, including the 576th Flight Test Squadron and 30th Space Wing, Vandenberg AFB; 90th Missile Wing, F.E. Warren AFB, Wyoming; and 625th Strategic Operations Squadron, Offutt AFB, Nebraska.

Each mission provides valuable data for the nation's defense system. The data collected from this test launch will be used by ICBM analysts, including the Department of Defense and the Department of Energy, to ensure that the readiness, reliability, and accuracy capabilities of the ICBM force are being met and/or exceeded.

"The sortie performed flawlessly; guaranteeing the nuclear deterrence requirements for this nation are met. The sustained excellence of the ICBM weapon system is made possible by the efforts of Team ICBM at Hill Air Force Base. It's an honor to be a part of this team," states Col. Ryan L. Britton, director of ICBM Systems Directorate.

The sortie was randomly selected from the available Alert Ready assets at F.E. Warren AFB in Wyoming. Once selected, all of the missile components were removed from the launch facility at F.E. Warren and shipped to Vandenberg AFB, where they were installed in Launch Facility 9. On Sept. 4, the missile was commanded to Strategic Alert and remained Alert Ready for approximately 22 days. During this time, the performance of the Missile Guidance Set and Flight Control hardware were monitored to verify the system's performance specifications were maintained and the launch schedule could be followed as planned.

This mission also included the use of an updated version of the Minuteman III Operational Ground Program and the Operational Flight Program. One day prior to launch, the launch team conducted a Launch Readiness Review, Go/No-Go Briefing, and a Weather Call, which led to the Launch Window opening at 3:31 a.m. (PST) on Sept. 26. During the missile's flight, the Mod 7 Wafer delivered a telemetry stream, in real-time, which contained flight performance data to be observed by flight assessment engineers at the Telemetry Integration Processing System Quick-Look Data Area. During the flight, an operational assessment of missile systems components performance were performed and revealed the mission was executed as planned. Within an hour of the completion of the mission, the Quick-Look data assessment of the systems performance began.

Preliminary results indicate the unarmed missile Glory Trip 208 executed its mission as expected. It launched with the expected burst of smoke and flame, and followed the planned trajectory toward the Kwajalein Atoll. Although all preliminary indications suggest the sortie was successfully flown, the data collected will be further assessed in detail and a final report will be delivered to the Air Force Global Strike Command.

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