The military rocket exploded on Wednesday during the first test launch of a key component of America’s future land-based nuclear missile.
The rocket, known as the Minotaur II +, exploded about 10 seconds after launch. Vandenberg Air Force BaseCalifornia, around 11:00 pm local time.
“There were no injuries from the explosion, and debris was contained in the immediate vicinity of the launch pad,” the base said.
Authorities will investigate the cause of the accident.
This is the new name for the U.S. Air Force’s next-generation nuclear weapons
Minotauros II + combines some of the obsolete Minuteman intercontinental ballistic missiles with the upper segment of the current Minuteman III nucleus to create missiles used to launch ballistic tests.
Vandenberg regularly holds live tests of unarmed missile bodies that do not have nuclear warheads inside to see how the aging ICBM is progressing and to scrutinize new technologies.
In this case, the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center said the training missile was carrying a Mark 21A re-entry vehicle, or some of the nuclear weapons that held the actual warhead.
According to the service, military personnel are collecting “detailed and reliable” data to help shape the prototype system into the final product.
Vandenberg is likely to host a new intercontinental ballistic missile training unit
The Air Force has signed with Lockheed Martin to redesign the Mk21A to carry a 300 kiloton W87-1 warhead. This is 15 times the explosive power of the “Fat Man” bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Japan in 1945. The missile is currently under development at Northrop Grumman.
“The W78 is one of the oldest warheads in our stockpile, and the W87-1 patch provides improved warhead security, safety, and … control,” said the Ministry of Energy, which manages the program. I am.
An updated re-entry vehicle that arcs the warhead to the edge of space and glides towards the target is also expected to accommodate future warhead designs for the new ICBM in the coming decades.
The Sentinel ICBM will replace 400 nuclear missiles in underground silos in Montana, Wyoming, and North Dakota in the late 2020s.