Fri, Sep 01, 2006
ANN REALTIME UPDATE
09.01.06 1600 EDT: Fog from early this morning lifted from
California's Vandenburg Air Force Base this afternoon, allowing the
successful launch of an interceptor missile as a test of the
proposed US missile defense system.
While the primary goal of the test was to analyze data from
radar tracking systems on the intercept rocket -- and not to
actually knock out the target missile, launched
from Kodiak, AK -- US defense officials say the missile
did successfully intercept the test drone -- a significant victory
for a program that has seen its share of failures.
An important test of the emerging US missile defense shield was
scrubbed Thursday due to bad weather in Kodiak, AK... launch site
for the target missile.
The Defense Department told CNN the $85 million test --
intended, at least officially, to collect data and NOT to shoot
down the target -- could be rescheduled for Friday or Saturday. The
interceptor missile will be launched from California's Vandenburg
"Bad weather and lightning at Kodiak" forced the postponement,
according to Pentagon spokeswoman Cheryl Irwin.
The delay is the latest blow to the problematic history of the
missile-defense shield -- in development for years, but in the
spotlight since July's series of missile launches by North Korea --
one of which was a long-range "Taeopodong 2" believed capable of
reaching US territory.
As Aero-News reported, that
test missile flew far shorter than intended -- spiralling earthward
42 seconds after launch.
During an appearance last weekend in Kodiak, Defense Secretary
Donald Rumsfeld said he was anticipating a full-scale test "where
we actually put all the pieces together. That just hasn't
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