Airmen from the 90th Missile Wing at F.E. Warren AFB, Wyo., conducted a Simulated Electronic Launch-Minuteman test to assess the reliability of the Minuteman III ICBM, according to a base release. “We evaluated six launch facilities from their day-to-day operational state through issuance of the first-stage ignition signal. All six performed exactly as expected,” said Capt. Joseph Liles, test manager for the 576th Flight Training Squadron from Vandenberg AFB, Calif., in the April 24 release. The test “represents the most complete test of our ICBM weapon system,” he said. The SELM ran April 11-17. Air Force officials this year incorporated “some exciting new concepts” and “were able to validate the system’s flawless performance when exposed to certain modern threats,” said Liles. The Air Force conducts a SELM about every half year. The 91st MW at Minot AFB, N.D., underwent the testing last September. The 90th MW’s next SELM is set for the fall of 2015, states the release. (F.E. Warren report by A1C Brandon Valle)
NASA, SpaceX, and United Launch Alliance are all preparing to launch their next-gen rockets from Florida’s Space Coast, two of them before the year is out. One is expected to liberate the U.S. launch enterprise from its reliance on Russian-made RD-180 engines, while all three rockets could eventually carry astronaut crews.