PCS Guide: 30th Space Wing, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.
By Senior Airman Anne Gathua, 17th Training Wing Public Affairs
/ Published March 12, 2012
GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas - --
Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., is home to the 30th Space Wing. The 30th Space Wing manages Defense Department space and missile testing, and placing satellites into polar orbit from the West Coast, using expendable boosters (Delta II, Pegasus, Taurus, Minotaur, Atlas V and Delta IV). Wing personnel also support the service's Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Force Development Evaluation program.
Vandenberg AFB was originally established in 1941 as Camp Cooke near Lompoc, Calif. The camp was an Army training center for armored and infantry troops.
Transferred to the Air Force in 1957, Vandenberg AFB began its transformation into a space and missile test facility. In a relatively remote location, Vandenberg offers an ideal location for safely testing intercontinental ballistic missiles as well as launching satellites into polar orbit without flying over populated areas.
Vandenberg AFB launched the world's first polar orbiting satellite, the Discoverer 1, a cover for America's first photo reconnaissance program in 1958. As of June 2010, 1,900 orbital and ballistic missiles have lifted off from Vandenberg AFB.
The 30th Space Wing, Vandenberg's host unit, supports West Coast launch activities for the Air Force, DoD, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, national programs and various private industry contractors. The Wing supports the processing and launch of a variety of expendable vehicles including Atlas V, Delta IV, Delta II, Pegasus, Minotaur, Taurus and Falcon. The Wing also supports Force Development and Evaluation of all intercontinental ballistic missiles, as well as Missile Defense Agency tests and operations.
Major tenant units at Vandenberg AFB include the Joint Functional Component Command for Space,14th Air Force, 576th Flight Test Squadron, Missile Defense Agency, 381st Training Group, National Reconnaissance Office ,and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
At more than 99,000 acres, the base contains some of the highest quality coastal habitat remaining in central California.
With a wealth of valuable cultural and ecological treasures, the base is recognized for leading the way in protecting and preserving its 42 miles of pristine coastline, 9,000 acres of sand dunes, 5,000 acres of wetlands, more than 1,600 irreplaceable prehistoric archeological resources, 14 rock art sites, a National Historic Landmark, five Native American villages, a National Historic Trail, 26 Cold War-era complexes and protecting and monitoring more than 15 different endangered or threatened species.
2.84 mile runway
3rd largest air force base in the United States
7,000+ range operations per year
700 launches and 1,100 ballistic launches to date