NEAR LOMPOC (CBSLA) – Southland residents up late may have seen a fiery streak shooting across the sky just after midnight when an unarmed missile was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base near Lompoc in Santa Barbara County.

An unarmed test missile launches from Vandenberg Air Force Base on Sept. 2, 2020. (Credit: Senior Airman Hanah Abercrombie/Vandenberg AFB)

The test launch of the Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile took place at 12:03 a.m. Wednesday.

The missile traveled 4,200 miles to the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands.

“The purpose of the ICBM test launch program is to validate and verify the safety, security, effectiveness, and reliability of the weapon system, according to Air Force Global Strike Command,” Vandenberg AFB wrote in a news release.

(Credit: Connor Riley/Vandenberg AFB)

According to Air Force Global Strike Command, launch calendars are established three to five years in advance, and planning for the launches begin anywhere from 6 months to a year out from the launch date.

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