MSLS-2 Launched on schedule at 8:15 PM EST Thursday 16 Jan 97

As previously noted, this launch is part of the first test of National Missile Defense Components in over five years. The MSLS target vehicle, a converted Minuteman-2 ICBM, was successfully launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. A kill vehicle was planned for launch atop a booster [ based on two Minuteman stages ] from the Kwajalein Missile Range in the Marshall Islands in the Pacific. Although no intercept was planned, the Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle's sensors were to observe the target complex launched on the MSLS.

Because of the span of time zones covered [from Washington to Kwajalein] and the fact that this was a multi-service operation [the Air Force launched the target from Vandenberg, and the Army launched the kill vehicle for BMDO from Kwajalein], as of our deadline we were not able to confirm either that there had been a successful kill vehicle launch, or the results of the fly-by encounter.

We will provide updates as developments warrant.