Minuteman on Rails
Minuteman Rail Version
AKA: LGM-30A. Status: Retired 1974. First Launch: 1970-03-14. Last Launch: 1974-10-24. Number: 3 .
3 stage vehicle consisting of 1 x M55E1 + 1 x SR19AJ1 + 1 x M57A1.
A Headquarters USAF Systems Management Directive (SMD) for Minuteman I and IT directed that an Improved Third Stage (ITS) propulsion system. This would be used with the Mark 12 and Mark 17 reentry vehicles and a Post Boost Control System (PBCS) and that initial operational capability (IOC) be achieved in July 1969. The Minuteman with the new third stage was designated the Minuteman III (LGM-30G) weapon system and was to be compatible with either the WS 133B or WS 133A/M ground systems.
A Minuteman I flight test missile was fired down the Western Test Range from Vandenberg AFB as part of the Safeguard System Test Targets Program (SSTTP) managed by SAMSO's Deputy for Reentry Systems. An Army Sprint missile intercepted the nose cone, recording its first test intercept.
A SAMSO-Navy Strategic System Program Office Memorandum of Agreement was amended to provide Minuteman I boosters in addition to the Atlas vehicles already scheduled. These were for HAVE FLY, the Trident Supplemental Flight Test (SFT) program managed by the Deputy for Reentry Systems.
The Advanced Nosetip Test (A.N.T.) program began to develop a system of multiple small reentry vehicles to be simultaneously flight tested on Minuteman I boosters. This would obtain reentry shape changed and recession performance data on advanced nosetip materials and designs.
As an early air mobile flight demonstration of the feasibility of launching a ballistic missile from a wide-bodied aircraft, a Minuteman I missile was dropped from an Air Force C-5A over water. Ignited at 8,000 feet, the Minuteman rose to 20,000 feet before expending its propellant and falling into the ocean 20 miles from Vandenberg AFB. SAMSO's Deputy for Minuteman at Norton AFB, California, completed the necessary work for the air mobile demonstration in just over two months. The data gathered from this first live demonstration of the air mobile concept will be used in SAMSO's Advanced ICBM Technology (M-X) program that will determine technology and basing concept for the next generation of U.S. land-based strategic missiles.
TDV-3, the third of three technology development vehicle flights in CY 1977, was successfully launched from Vandenberg AFB to the Kwajalein missile range on a Minuteman I booster. It successfully conducted complex experiments dealing with nosetip materials, aerodynamics, induced early transition, and electronics.