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Watch a Minuteman III missile light up the sky above Vandenberg Air Force Base

An Air Force Global Strike Command unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile launches during an operational test at 12:21 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time 4 August 2020, at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Hanah Abercrombie)

The U.S. Air Force’s Global Strike Command conducted a successful test of its intercontinental ballistic missile program early Tuesday morning.

An unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base near Lompoc at 12:21 a.m. Tuesday.

It was the base’s first missile test since the coronavirus pandemic reached the Central Coast several months ago.

An Air Force Global Strike Command unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile launches during an operational test at 12:21 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time 4 August 2020, at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Hanah Abercrombie)

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“This launch demonstrates that we are able to provide the range support needed to facilitate this test during peacetime operations in the midst of COVID-19 operations,” 30th Space Wing Commander Col. Anthony Mastalir said in a news release. “Signifying that our nuclear enterprise is safe, secure, reliable, effective and ready to defend the United States and our allies.”

An Air Force Global Strike Command unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile launches during an operational test at 12:21 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time 4 August 2020, at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Hanah Abercrombie)

The purpose of the ICBM test launch program is to validate and verify the safety, security, effectiveness and readiness of the weapon system, according to an Air Force Global Strike Command news release.

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© 2020 The Tribune