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Coast Guard gives notice: Missile launch expected in Alaska

A missile launch from a Kodiak, Alaska, facility is expected this weekend, according to the US Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard notified mariners of the rocket launch scheduled for Saturday, between 7 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. local time, with alternative times on Sunday and Monday. It will be conducted from the Kodiak Narrow Cape Launch Facility, according to the notice.

Earlier this month, the US had successfully tested its Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile system in Kodiak.

The system is designed to shoot down short, medium and intermediate ballistic missiles. Some analysts liken THAAD to shooting down a bullet with another bullet.

During the previous test run, a ballistic missile target that had been launched over the Pacific Ocean north of Hawaii, was intercepted by the THAAD weapon system in Alaska, according to the US Missile Defense Agency.

Officials had said that the previous test was not related to North Korea’s recent intercontinental ballistic missile launch.

The last major North Korean missile test took place on July 4, when Pyongyang launched what the US assessed to be an intercontinental ballistic missile. Analysts said the test showed the missile could reach much of Alaska.

Meanwhile, North Korea appears to be preparing for another missile test, according to a US Defense official.

The official said transporter vehicles carrying ballistic missile launching equipment were seen arriving in Kusong, North Korea on Friday. Kusong has been the site of North Korean missile tests in the past. When such equipment is seen, a launch could occur within six days, which would coincide with the upcoming July 27 North Korean holiday.