Wallops Island rocket launches part of missile defense test

Feb 24, 2015

ATLANTIC, Va. (AP) — Three suborbital rockets have been launched from NASA's facility on Wallops Island as part of a ballistic missile defense test.

The Missile Defense Agency says Tuesday's successful flight test was the first to assess the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense weapon system's ability to simulate engagements of raids consisting of three short-range, separating ballistic missile targets.

The agency says in a news release that the rockets were acquired and tracked by sailors aboard two destroyers, while a third destroyer participated in associated operations. The destroyers then conducted simulated guided missile engagements.

It's the first time live targets have been used to test the weapon system's capability to determine which ship is the preferred shooter.

The rockets were launched between 2:30 a.m. and 2:31 a.m. Tuesday.

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