An unarmed Minotaur II+ intercontinental ballistic missile test-launched by the U.S. Air Force from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California exploded seconds after it was fired, the Hill reports.
Officials said the rocket exploded about 11 seconds after it was launched from a Vandenberg test pad at 11:01 p.m. Wednesday.
Debris rained down around the launch pad area and a fire on the North Base was caused by the explosion, but authorities said the fire was not a danger to the rest of the base. There were no injuries.
"We always have emergency response teams on standby prior to every launch," Col. Kris Barcomb, Space Launch Delta 30 vice commander and launch decision authority for the launch, said in a press release. "Safety is our priority at all times."
An investigative review board has been established to determine the cause of the explosion, according to the report.
The Minotaur II+ rocket was developed by the Air Force’s Nuclear Weapons Center and consists of components of retired Minuteman-2 missiles combined with new parts to create a low-cost launch vehicle.
Military and defense contractors have been working to modify the existing Mark21A Reentry Vehicle, or Mk21A, which rides aboard the Minotaur+ booster, according to Noozhawk.
"The test launch will demonstrate preliminary design concepts and relevant payload technologies in operationally realistic environments," according to the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center.
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