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06 May 2017, 02:19 | Katrina Lee
Images taken on April 19 appear to show activity at the Punggye-ri nuclear testing site
An unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missilelaunches during an operational test at 12:02 a.m. PDT Wednesday (May 3) from California's Vandenberg Air Force Base.
These past two tests - the previous test launch was held in the early morning of April 26 - occurred so close together, according to the Air Force, because last week's launch was rescheduled from November 2016 due to fires on VAFB.
The next test of a missile interceptor will be the first in three years. "Therefore, these missiles require regular test launches, and it has nothing to do with North Korea".
Recent missile tests by North Korea suggest that the communist dictatorship is trying to develop a nuclear weapon capable of hitting the USA, which has put the US on high alert.
A Minuteman III ICBM launched from Vandenberg AFB.
The tests come amid rising tensions between North Korea and the US.
'These test launches verify the accuracy and reliability of the ICBM weapon system, providing valuable data to ensure a continued safe, secure and effective nuclear deterrent, ' the statement said.
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The South Korean and U.S. governments say THAAD is critical to deal with a growing missile threat from the North.
The test, which the military said took ten months to plan, was the second Minuteman III launch in a week's time.
Both come at a time when the US has expressed concern about North Korea's nuclear capability.
The US designates North Korea as one of its top national security concerns.
The proposed scheduled missile test will be of the 1970's version of the LGM-30 Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM), which is a nuclear arsenal capable missile and is one of the best on the planet.
Pyongyang slammed the deployment and said the strategic bombers had conducted "a nuclear bomb dropping drill against major objects" in its territory.
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