New U.S. missile launched in test

Sunday, August 17, 2003

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- A missile was launched Saturday in a test of its flight performance and potential for use as part of a land-based defense system.

The prototype, launched from a silo at Vandenberg Air Force Base, is designed to intercept limited long-range ballistic missiles. The Bush administration wants a missile defense system to include rockets based at Vandenberg.

The launch did not test the missile's ability to intercept an incoming rocket. Maj. Stacee Bako said more tests are planned this fall in the Marshall Islands.

The three-stage booster was designed by Orbital Sciences Corp.

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