THE US has successfully tested an intercontinental ballistic missile.
It was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California and travelled 4,200 miles before splashing into the Pacific Ocean.
The maximum range for a Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) is around 8,000 miles, according to CSIS.
This means it could easily reach all the way to North Korea, China or even Egypt from the Californian base.
The tested missile was unarmed and splashed into the ocean near the Marshall Islands.
It was launched at 12:21am PT (07:21 GMT) on Tuesday.
The Air Force said in a statement: "The test demonstrates that the United States’ nuclear deterrent is safe, secure, reliable and effective."
It said that airmen "were aboard the US Navy E-6 aircraft to demonstrate the reliability and effectiveness" of its airborne launch control system.
Colonel Omar Colbert, commander of 576th Flight Test Squadron, explained: "The Minuteman III is 50 years old, and continued test launches are essential.”
He added: "This visible message of national security serves to assure our allies and dissuade potential aggressors."
The Air Force has stressed that the test is not a response or reaction to world events.
The Minuteman III missile can be used to carry nuclear weapons.
The US currently has the missiles at bases in Wyoming, North Dakota, and Montana.
Terrifying space weapons of the future
Here are three of the scariest…
Rods from God
- A strange but utterly terrifying weapon has been dubbed "rods from the God" and is based on the concept of creating man-made meteorites that can be guided towards the enemy.
- Instead of using rocks rods the size of telephone poles are deployed.
- These would be made out of tungsten — a rare metal that can stand the intense heat generated by entering Earth's atmosphere.
- One satellite fires the rods towards the Earth's atmosphere while the other steers them to a target on the ground.
- Reaching speeds of 7000mph they hit the ground with the force of a small nuclear weapon — but crucially creating no radiation fall out.
- As bizarre as it sounds, a US Congressional report recently revealed the military has been pushing ahead with the kinetic space weapons.
Molten metal cannons
- This intriguing idea is being developed by the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).
- It is called the Magneto Hydrodynamic Explosive Munition or MAHEM.
- This game changing rail-gun can fire a jet of molten metal, hurled through space at several hundred miles per second by the most powerful electromagnets ever built.
- The molten metal can then morph into an aerodynamic slug during flight and pierce through another spacecraft or satellite and a munition explodes inside.
Space force ships
- Already the United States is powering head with its spacecraft, although China is busy developing one of their own.
- The top secret American XS-1 under development by DARPA.
- It can travel ten times the speed of sound and launch missiles.
- Meanwhile an unmanned craft is currently being developed in the China Aerodynamics Research and Development Centre in Mianyang, Sichuan province, which is also known as Base 29.
In other news, a SpaceX rocket that will one day take astronauts to Mars has completed a 500ft test flight from a launchpad in Texas.
Billionaire Sir Richard Branson will rocket into space aboard a Virgin Galactic spaceship next year, the company has announced.
And, a nuclear apocalypse bunker in the US has a multi-million dollar price tag for anyone wishing to hide in it.
What are your thoughts on nuclear weapons? Let us know in the comments…
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