- Posted September 22, 2013 by
Minuteman III ICBM test launch
- Jareen, CNN iReport producer
A LGM-30Minuteman rocket, also known as a Minuteman III, was successfully launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base Sunday morning, September 22, 2013, at 3:01 PDT. The test launch is one of several launches scheduled for the west coast base this month.
Under a full moon, the rocket lifted off from Launch-Facility 10 (LF-10) which is Minuteman rocket launch silo complex at Vandenberg.
The Minuteman III is a land-based intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), designed to deliver nuclear warheads. Currently it is the only land-based ICBM in service in the United States. Each missile carries three nuclear warheads, which have a yield in the range of 300 to 500 kilotons.
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.
The ICBM was named Minuteman after the Revolutionary War’s Minutemen who were able to respond quickly to a threat in the late 1770s. 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.