Yesterday at 04:34 GMT unarmed Minuteman III ICBM was launched to perform various tests necessary for keeping missiles in fully operational efficiency.
It was official test announced before with full international acceptance. Col. J. Christopher Moss, 30th Space Wing commander, as launch decision authority, described whole launch and further tests accordingly:
"While ICBM launches from Vandenberg Air Force Base almost seem routine, each one requires a tremendous amount of effort and absolute attention to detail in order to ensure a safe and successful launch... This specific test will provide accuracy and reliability data that is essential to on-going and future modifications to the weapon system, which are key to improving the already impressive effectiveness of the Minuteman III force."
It is interesting, that launching one of most expensive firework in the world coincided with the news of extending US Air Force budget. Proposition of the President's budget consists increasing funds for about $ 2.1 billion for developing new military communication satellites and early warning systems in 2021. New generation communication satellites, called Advanced Extremely High Frequency satellites, will provide fully protected communication possibility for US military forces around the globe. Second aim for additional $ 2.1 billion will be continuous development of the missile warning system based on constellation of satellites operating in infrared technology. It is good news for US Air Force with budget tightened by developing new launch system independent from powered by Russian RD-180 engines ULA Atlas V rocket. During following five years US Air Force is going to spend only for this objective at least $1.2 billion. It is also significant change comparing to last statement on budget. In previous version it was only mention $208 million until 2020 for new liquid fueled propulsion for successor of Atlas V. Now budget is covering developing whole rocket is five times bigger and will be truly warranty for real development of new launch vehicle without limiting other crucial projects.