SENIOR AIRMAN IAN DUDLEY/US AIR FORCE PUBLIC AFFAIRS
A beautiful image, taken by Senior Airman Ian Dudley from US Air Force Global Strike Command (USGSC) has been shared on social media.
It shows an unarmed Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) "Minuteman III" being fired from Vandenberg Air Force base California shooting across the sky.
The launch took place on April 26 at three minutes past midnight.
The test was a a joint effort between USGSC, the 90th Missile Wing at F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming, the 341st Missile Wing at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana, and the 625th Strategic Operations Squadron at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska.
The missile travelled approximately 4,200 miles to a test range in the Kwajalein Atoll, Marshall Islands.
Here's a video of the launch.
Minuteman III missiles are one 'leg of the nuclear triad'. The other parts which make up the US' nuclear deterrent are nukes dropped from bombers such as B-52s seen in Dr Strangelove, and submarine launched ballistic missiles run by the US Navy.
The purpose of the test, as with all of them, is to measure accuracy of the US' weapons and to provide force readiness evaluations for the US and their allies.