Unarmed Minuteman missile launched from Calif.

Associated Press

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (AP) — The Air Force says a communications glitch during the test of an unarmed Minuteman 3 missile forced the military to send the launch command from ground control rather than an airborne launch control system.

The intercontinental ballistic missile blasted out of a silo at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., at 6:35 a.m. PDT Wednesday and its re-entry vehicle reached a target near the Kwajalein Atoll in the Pacific Ocean about 30 minutes later.

The Air Force says a communications problem during countdown forced the launch command to be transferred from an E-6B Mercury aircraft to the Vandenberg ground control center.

Vandenberg regularly tests ICBMs to collect data on the weapons' accuracy and reliability.