A test launch of a Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile from Vandenberg Air Force Base was terminated early Tuesday morning, according to Air Force Global Strike Command.
The Air Force reported that the 30th Space Wing “safely terminated” the test at 4:42 a.m. This termination occurred over the Pacific Ocean, after the missile was launched.
The cause of the termination, according to the Air Force, was due to an anomaly, which can include any unexpected event during a test.
“Since anomalies may arise from many factors relating to the operational platform itself, or the test equipment, careful analysis is needed to identify the cause,” read a statement from Air Force Global Strike Command. “A Launch Analysis Group is forming to investigate the cause. The LAG will include representatives from Air Force Global Strike Command, the 576th Flight Test Squadron, 30th Space Wing Safety Office and Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center, among other organizations.”
The test launch program helps the command evaluate the Minuteman III and gather data to keep the system effective, according to the Air Force.
The test had been scheduled for a window between 12:01 and 6:01 a.m. Tuesday.
The Santa Barbara-based Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, which advocates for a world free of nuclear weapons, put out a statement ahead of the planned test questioning its timing, particularly as the U.S. continues to push for the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.
“This is the same class of missiles for which the U.S. has been highly critical of the North Koreans for developing and testing,” said Rick Wayman, deputy director of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. “How can the United States demand North Korea’s good faith on denuclearization while the U.S. continues its own ICBM testing? The hypocrisy is nothing new, but what stands out with this test is the potential for blowing up the peace process underway with North Korea.”
Air Force officials said prior to the test that it was unrelated to any real-world current events.
The Air Force did not provide any immediate details about a potential makeup of the test.