Air Force launches test missile off California coast amid heightened tensions

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VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- The U.S. Air Force launched an unarmed intercontinental ballistic missile from California Vandenberg Air Force Base early Wednesday morning.

The Air Force officer in charge of the test called the launch, "an important demonstration of our nation's nuclear deterrent capability."

The missile was was equipped with a nonexplosive payload that recorded flight data. It traveled 4,200 miles to a test range in the Marshall Islands, the Air Force said.

The launch comes amid growing tensions between the United States and North Korea.

It has been more than a month since the U.S. and South Korea publicly declared North Korea was ready to conduct its sixth nuclear test. No detonation has happened.

Meanwhile, all 100 U.S. senators were invited to a meeting on North Korea at the White House on Wednesday. It's unclear if President Donald Trump will attend.

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