HomeNewsArticle Display

91st Space Wing set to launch ... almost

MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. -- Senior Airman Edwin Acosta Jr., 91st Missile Maintenance Squadron, checks the oxygen levels in the confined space before allowing entry after the simulated electronic missile launch conducted at Mike 11 Nov. 1. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Joe Laws)

MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. -- Senior Airman Edwin Acosta Jr., 91st Missile Maintenance Squadron, checks the oxygen levels in the confined space before allowing entry after the simulated electronic missile launch conducted at Mike 11 Nov. 1. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Joe Laws)

MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. -- Airmen from the 91st Space Wing put their 99 percent alert rate to the test Wednesday during a simulated electronic missile launch. 

The simulated electronic launch tested the proper operation of the Minuteman III weapons system here Tuesday and Wednesday. 

"It [SELM] ensures the proper command and control over our missiles we have here
at Minot Air Force Base," said Lt. Col. David Lair, 91st Missile Maintenance Squadron commander and SELM test support manager. "It also ensures if we do need to launch those missiles, the commands will be properly transmitted and received." 

Keeping safety a priority, test evaluators and technicians took every precaution to
prepare the selected launch facilities and launch control centers for the SELM. 

"During a SELM, two launch control centers and six missiles are taken off alert, 91st Space Wing set to launch ... almost making them incapable of launching. At the launch control center, the launch control panel and launch enable panel are switched out with test codes," said Capt. Brandon Schrader, SELM test director based out of the 576th Flight Test Squadron, Vandenberg AFB, Ca. "Maintainers also physically isolate the two capsules from the rest of the squadron by disconnecting communication lines between the test launch facility and any other non-test launch facilities, creating a mini-SELM squadron. Once the SELM launch facilities are isolated and interfaced with the command and control software, they are ready for a simulated launch; 576th FLTS personnel use a test sequence document we've created to simulate a launch without actually launching the missile." 

According to Capt. Chad PFortmiller, 576th FLTS team member, the entire exercise began almost five months ago when the team had to select the LFs and LCCs, and prepare them for the other squadrons to take over those facilities' duties. 

"Part of our 19 weeks of preparing all this is to make sure the other units pick up the responsibilities of those six sorties [LFs]," said Captain PFortmiller. "Part of the process of picking up the sorties is trying to get sorties that haven't been tested before,
talking with the engineers to see what specific data they're interested in gathering, and coordinating with the wing to see if that melds with what they're doing out here." 

The SELM culminated Wednesday in the successful simulated launch. The LF enclosure door was even opened as it would have been had it been a real launch. The information gathered from the SELM will be used to evaluate
not only the operation of the Minuteman III but also the design of a decades old weapons system. 

"The test results will give us insight into the training of our people, the capabilities of
our maintainers and the design and engineering of the systems," said Col. Martin Whelan, 91st Space Wing commander. "We have a 99-percent alert capable rate with our missile systems, and, as we advertise that, we want to make sure that, if the command comes to engage our weapons system, they're ready to go." 

The end of the SELM does not mark the end of the effectiveness testing for the 91st SW
as they are currently being tested by the 20th Air Force's missile standardization evaluation team. The testing began Thursday.
USAF Comments Policy
If you wish to comment, use the text box below. AF reserves the right to modify this policy at any time.

This is a moderated forum. That means all comments will be reviewed before posting. In addition, we expect that participants will treat each other, as well as our agency and our employees, with respect. We will not post comments that contain abusive or vulgar language, spam, hate speech, personal attacks, violate EEO policy, are offensive to other or similar content. We will not post comments that are spam, are clearly "off topic", promote services or products, infringe copyright protected material, or contain any links that don't contribute to the discussion. Comments that make unsupported accusations will also not be posted. The AF and the AF alone will make a determination as to which comments will be posted. Any references to commercial entities, products, services, or other non-governmental organizations or individuals that remain on the site are provided solely for the information of individuals using this page. These references are not intended to reflect the opinion of the AF, DoD, the United States, or its officers or employees concerning the significance, priority, or importance to be given the referenced entity, product, service, or organization. Such references are not an official or personal endorsement of any product, person, or service, and may not be quoted or reproduced for the purpose of stating or implying AF endorsement or approval of any product, person, or service.

Any comments that report criminal activity including: suicidal behaviour or sexual assault will be reported to appropriate authorities including OSI. This forum is not:

  • This forum is not to be used to report criminal activity. If you have information for law enforcement, please contact OSI or your local police agency.
  • Do not submit unsolicited proposals, or other business ideas or inquiries to this forum. This site is not to be used for contracting or commercial business.
  • This forum may not be used for the submission of any claim, demand, informal or formal complaint, or any other form of legal and/or administrative notice or process, or for the exhaustion of any legal and/or administrative remedy.

AF does not guarantee or warrant that any information posted by individuals on this forum is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. AF may not be able to verify, does not warrant or guarantee, and assumes no liability for anything posted on this website by any other person. AF does not endorse, support or otherwise promote any private or commercial entity or the information, products or services contained on those websites that may be reached through links on our website.

Members of the media are asked to send questions to the public affairs through their normal channels and to refrain from submitting questions here as comments. Reporter questions will not be posted. We recognize that the Web is a 24/7 medium, and your comments are welcome at any time. However, given the need to manage federal resources, moderating and posting of comments will occur during regular business hours Monday through Friday. Comments submitted after hours or on weekends will be read and posted as early as possible; in most cases, this means the next business day.

For the benefit of robust discussion, we ask that comments remain "on-topic." This means that comments will be posted only as it relates to the topic that is being discussed within the blog post. The views expressed on the site by non-federal commentators do not necessarily reflect the official views of the AF or the Federal Government.

To protect your own privacy and the privacy of others, please do not include personally identifiable information, such as name, Social Security number, DoD ID number, OSI Case number, phone numbers or email addresses in the body of your comment. If you do voluntarily include personally identifiable information in your comment, such as your name, that comment may or may not be posted on the page. If your comment is posted, your name will not be redacted or removed. In no circumstances will comments be posted that contain Social Security numbers, DoD ID numbers, OSI case numbers, addresses, email address or phone numbers. The default for the posting of comments is "anonymous", but if you opt not to, any information, including your login name, may be displayed on our site.

Thank you for taking the time to read this comment policy. We encourage your participation in our discussion and look forward to an active exchange of ideas.

Contact Us

To reach the Minot Air Force Base Main Directory, call: Commercial (701) 723-7979 or DSN: 453-7979.   

To request Public Affairs support, please fill out an Air Force Form 833 and email to the Minot AFB Public Affairs workflow mailbox

Unfortunately, we are not accepting marquee requests since our marquee board is down for an undetermined amount of time. Thank you for understanding.

FacebookFacebook
InstagramInstagram
TwitterTwitter
FlickrFlickr
YouTubeYouTube