RE: Visibility of Minuteman Launch Wednesday.

From: Brian Webb (
Date: Mon Sep 13 2004 - 23:47:08 EDT

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    Hi Rich:
    Here are the flight events for Minuteman III test launches from Vandenberg:
                         MINUTEMAN III FLIGHT EVENTS
    Time                                      Altitude	   Distance
    mm:ss                Event                  (NM)	     (NM)
    -----       -----------------------       --------       ---------
    00:00       Stage 1 ignition                  0               0
    01:01       Stage 2 ignition                 16              18
    02:06       Stage 3 ignition                 49             120
    03:05       Stage 3 separation              123             210
    The boost phase ends while the vehicle is faily low in altitude and close to
    California.  I don't think you'll be able to see that.
    It's possible that there are some small engine firings later in flight to
    send the warheads on the right paths. Theoretically, if you had excellent
    optical equipment and knew exactly where to look, you might be able to see
    the small firings and perhaps some missile debris moving downrange.
    At some point in the near future, I plan to publish a Minuteman III launch
    visibility footprint map at:

    Brian W.
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