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Ballistic missile test-fired from California coastal base

06 May 2017

Air Force Global Strike Command, the Louisiana-based military organization charged with overseeing the nuclear-tipped ICBMs, said tests like Wednesday gather data on the weapon system system's accuracy and reliability.

"It's efforts like these that make nuclear deterrence effective", Col. Craig Ramsey, commander of the 576th Flight Test Squadron, said in a statement.

On Friday, North Korea's military launched a ballistic missile hours after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called on the U.N. Security Council to impose new economic sanctions against the country. It has also begun deploying Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile system in South Korea.

The Minuteman III missile launch will occur between 12:01 and 6:01 a.m. from the base northwest of Santa Barbara, according to Vandenberg's 30th Space Wing.

Although U.S. officials said the launch was planned years in advance and was not related to growing tensions in Korean Peninsula, it's still a concern for the second ICBM test of U.S. Air Force in a week.

The U.S. has sent warships to the region to deter that country from conducting such tests.

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"Based on satellite imagery alone, it is unclear if this activity indicates that a nuclear test has been cancelled, the facility is in stand-by mode or that a test is imminent", it said. "The command typically schedules four launches a year".

It was not meant to send a message to North Korea, according to AFP.

However, North Korea's launch of a ballistic missile on that same morning ended in failure, as the weapon blew up as soon as it took off.

Pyongyang slammed the deployment and said the strategic bombers had conducted "a nuclear bomb dropping drill against major objects" in its territory.

Missiles are dispersed in silos and connected to an underground launch control where crews are on standby around the clock.

Ballistic missile test-fired from California coastal base