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The Defense Department announced Saturday night that a test of a ground-based interceptor launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California today was successful. The press release says:
Ground-Based Interceptor Completes Successful Flight TestSuch a missile defense system could conceivable protect the United States from a future attack from a rogue nation such as North Korea or Iran, or could supplement the existing missile defenses of allies of the U.S. such as Israel.
The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) successfully completed a flight test of a three-stage ground-based interceptor (GBI), launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., at 2 p.m. (PST) today.
Data from this flight test will be used to evaluate the Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle system performance in a flight environment. If a target missile were present, the Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle would collide directly with the threat warhead to perform a hit-to-kill intercept. Engineering data from this test will be used to improve confidence for future intercept missions.
A target missile launch was not planned for this flight test. After performing fly out maneuvers, the three-stage booster deployed the Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle to a designated point in space. After separating from the booster, the Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle executed a variety of pre-planned maneuvers to collect performance data in space...