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Vandenberg will launch unarmed missile tonight — and you might see it from SLO County

Watch: Late-night missile launch at Vandenberg

An unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile blasted off for a test launch at Vandenberg Air Force Base late Wednesday night, February 8, 2017. The weapon’s mock re-entry vehicles, equipped to collect data during the testing, travel
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An unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile blasted off for a test launch at Vandenberg Air Force Base late Wednesday night, February 8, 2017. The weapon’s mock re-entry vehicles, equipped to collect data during the testing, travel

Update, Wednesday, 11:40 a.m.: 

The missile launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base at about 11:01 p.m. Tuesday night. For more on the launch, or to watch the video, check out our new story here.

Original story:

Ready for a late-night light show?

Air Force Global Strike Command will launch an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile from Vandenberg Air Force Base late Tuesday night.

According to Santa Barbara County-based news website Noozhawk.com, the three-stage weapon is expected to pop out of an underground silo between 11:01 p.m. Tuesday and 5:01 a.m. Wednesday.

The military will then track the mock warhead to its target in the central Pacific Ocean’s Kwajalein Atoll, Noozhawk said.

The launch is one of the Air Force’s intercontinental ballistic missile tests to “collect information about the weapon system’s accuracy and reliability,” according to the Noozhawk article.

The launch could be delayed due to weather or technical issues.

Though the missile launch won’t be as visible as larger rocket launches from the base — like those from SpaceX and United Launch Alliance in January — because of the late hour, it’s possible the missile’s light trail will be visible from as far away as San Luis Obispo County.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully contributed to this article.

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