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MISSILE INTERCEPTOR FAILS TO HIT TARGET IN SDI EXPERIMENT

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In an unannounced test Friday, an experimental missile interceptor using some of the most advanced "Star Wars" technology was launched for the first time toward a target in space but failed to intercept it, officials said.

It was the second time in three months that an experimental antimissile missile developed by the Strategic Defense Initiative has failed to intercept its target.The SDI office at the Pentagon confirmed Friday that a new-technology "kill vehicle" - a device designed to destroy enemy warheads by smashing into them at high speed - failed to intercept its target after being launched from White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.

Maj. Mike Doble, a Pentagon spokesman, said SDI scientists were studying data from Friday's test to determine why the "kill vehicle" failed to hit the target.

In mid-March, a ground-launched interceptor known as ERIS was fired from an Army test range in the South Pacific but failed to intercept a mock warhead in space. The ERIS successfully hit its target in an initial test in January 1991.