Missile defense fails test

by on February 14th, 2005


WASHINGTON – A test of the national ballistic missile defense system failed Monday when an interceptor missile didn’t get out of its silo, the second failure in as many months.


In Monday’s test, the interceptor missile launched from Kwajalein Island in the Pacific was to target a mock ICBM fired from Kodiak Island, Alaska. The target missile launched at 1:22 a.m. EST without any problems, but the interceptor did not launch, the Missile Defense Agency said in a statement.

The previous test, on Dec. 15, failed under similar circumstances. The target missile launched, but the interceptor did not. Military officials later blamed that failure on fault-tolerance software that was oversensitive to small errors in the flow of data between the missile and a flight computer, and shut down the launch.

The Dec. 15 test was the first in two years. Before that, the program had gone five-for-eight in attempts to intercept a target. Missile defense officials say each test costs $85 million.

Etalkinghead Staff