A developmental test launch of an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile is scheduled this week at Vandenberg Air Force Base, marking the first test launch since the 30th Space Wing became part of the United States Space Force.
The launch window for the Air Force Global Strike Command missile is between 12:08 a.m. and 6:08 a.m. PST Feb. 5 from the northern portion of the base.
“This launch marks a very special moment in our nation’s history,” Col. Anthony Mastalir, 30th Space Wing commander, said in a statement. “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.”
Launch officials said that the developmental testing is “not related to any real world events,” but rather will provide Air Force Global Strike Command with valuable data. It also “holistically tests the systems, procedures, and Airmen from the initial mission planning to the final weapons employment phases,” according to a statement issued by VAFB.
In December, the United States Space Force was officially established as the sixth branch of the military. Shortly thereafter, Fourteenth Air Force was officially redesignated as Space Operations Command, directly supporting the U.S. Space Force’s mission to protect the interests of the United States in space, as well as deter aggression in, from and to space, and conduct space operations.
In announcing the redesignation last year, base officials said that the Space Operations Command will provide space capabilities such as Space Domain Awareness, space electronic warfare, satellite communications, missile warning, nuclear detonation detection, environmental monitoring, military intelligence surveillance, command control, positioning and other combatant commands.
“Every day, all around the planet, people count on us to make a difference – to provide a space-enabled combat edge to the warfighters that keep our country, our Allies, and our partners safe. We will not let them down,” Maj. Gen. John E. Shaw, Commander of Space Operations Command, said in a statement last year.