An operational test launch of an unarmed Minuteman III ICBM is set to occur on Wednesday at Vandenberg AFB, Calif., following a one-day delay due to a range safety instrumentation issue, according to a release from Vandy’s 30th Space Wing. “Public safety is my first priority during all launch operations,” said Col. Brent McArthur, 30th SW vice commander, in explaining the reschedule. Meanwhile, the Air Force is geared to launch the fifth Wideband Global Satellite Communications spacecraft into orbit on May 23 from Cape Canaveral AFS, Fla., according to a separate release. A United Launch Alliance Delta IV rocket will carry the military communications satellite aloft.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.