POSTED: Saturday, September 15, 2012 - 3:00pm
UPDATED: Saturday, September 15, 2012 - 3:04pm
NBC NATIONAL NEWS — A test launch at New Mexico's White Sands Missile Range sparked UFO reports Thursday morning.
The launch produced a contrail visible from as far away as Phoenix, Las Vegas, Salt Lake City and and Tucson.
The test of the Patriot Advanced Capability 3 or PAC-3 missile, was conducted using a Juno missile as a target.
The Juno was launched from Fort Wingate near Gallup and flew to White Sands Missile Range to be intercepted by the PAC-3.
The sunlight lit up the contrail from the Juno, creating a light show.
The Juno performed as expected.
This was the 14th time a large ballistic target missile has been fired from Fort Wingate since 1998.
The contrail has not always been visible from so far away, depending upon the time of day and atmospheric conditions.
Range personnel coordinated the test with FAA and other authorities to ensure that the test was conducted safely.
The White Sands work force is experienced in conducting complex missile testing.