VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE (CBS/AP) — The Air Force says an unarmed Minuteman 3 missile has been launched from California’s central coast in the latest test of the intercontinental system.

The missile blasted off at around 5:45 a.m. Wednesday from Vandenberg Air Force Base northwest of Los Angeles.

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The Air Force says the missile carried a test re-entry vehicle that headed for a target area 4,200 miles away near the Marshall Islands in the Pacific Ocean.

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“This launch, like every operational test launch from Vandenberg, is a vital part of demonstrating the readiness of our nation’s nuclear capabilities,” launch decision authority Col. J. Christopher Moss said.

The Air Force routinely uses Vandenberg to test Minuteman missiles from bases around the country.

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