Minuteman III launch from Vandenberg AFB, September 15, 2004
(Download a higher resolution picture by clicking on any picture below.)
A Minuteman III missile was launched on a suborbital trajectory toward Kwajalein Atoll from Vandenberg Air Force Base at 1:01 A.M. on Wednesday, September 15.
The Air Force periodically launches Peacekeeper and Minuteman missiles to demonstrate that they still work. They select a missile at random and pull it out of its silo. They bring the missile and a regular missile crew to VAFB. The crew launches the missile toward the Reagan Test Site at Kwajalien.
This 192.3-second time exposure was taken with a Nikon D70 digital camera set to an effective film speed of 400 ASA with the lens aperture set to f4.0.
The webmaster of the Space Archive web site was also in the mountains north of Santa Barbara when the Minuteman was launched. He shot a time exposure from a location about 15 miles east of where I shot mine.
This animation illustrates the difference in perspective from our shooting locations.
I shifted the effective film speed to 1600 ASA and shot this 2-minute 26-second exposure of the cloud left by the Minuteman. It is just left of center, a little hard to distinguish from the Milky Way.
More Vandenberg AFB launch photography.
Link to the Federation of American Scientists' Minuteman missile page.
Link to the Federation of American Scientists' National Missile Defense page.
Link to the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization (BMDO) National Missile Defense (NMD) page.
Link to the Strategic Air Command's Minuteman Missile page.
The home page of the 30th Space Wing
Brian Webb's Space Archive Page provides launch schedule and ham radio information.
Send a message to Brian .