VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (AP) – A missile defense rocket has been successfully test-launched from a military base in Central California.

Authorities say a long-range interceptor blasted off Thursday from Vandenberg Air Force Base. The launch was testing thrusters on the Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle, which is designed to crash into enemy missiles and destroy them.

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Officials say a target representing a missile was launched from an Air Force plane over the Pacific Ocean west of Hawaii. The Vandenberg interceptor released the kill vehicle, which was maneuvered with thrusters until its fuel was used up. It purposely didn’t intercept the target.

The test involved the ground-based midcourse defense system.

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The missile shield system is supposed to protect America from attacks, but it has failed to hit targets in many tests.


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Copyright 2016 The Associated Press.