US conducts test flight of unarmed Minuteman 3 missile

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (AP) — An unarmed Minuteman 3 intercontinental ballistic missile has been launched from California on a test flight to a target in the Pacific Ocean. The Air Force Global Strike Command says the missile blasted off at 12:21 a.m. Tuesday from Vandenberg Air Force Base. Its three reentry vehicles traveled 4,200 miles to the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands as part of a developmental test. Officials say test launches are essential to sustaining the aging Minuteman 3 nuclear weapon system. Such launches are not a reaction to world events. The launch calendars are developed three to five years in advance.