A missile defense rocket designed to smash incoming missiles out of the sky has been successfully launched from a military base in Central California. Authorities say a long-range interceptor blasted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base. The launch was testing thrusters on the Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle, which is designed to crash into enemy missiles and destroy them. Officials said a target representing a missile was launched from an Air Force plane over the Pacific Ocean west of Hawaii.

The Vandenberg interceptor released the kill vehicle, which was maneuvered with thrusters until its fuel was used up.  It purposely didn’t intercept the target. The test involved the ground-based midcourse defense system. The missile shield system is supposed to protect America from attacks, but it has failed to hit targets in many tests.  Later this year, an interceptor will try to destroy an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) target armed with countermeasures for the first time.  A year later, MDA will launch two interceptors against a single ICBM. FULL REPORT