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  • Vandenberg AFB Space Launch Complex 6

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    Space Launch Complex 6 (SLC-6, pronounced "Slick Six") at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California is a launch pad and support area. The site was originally developed for the Titan III and Manned Orbiting Laboratory, which was cancelled before construction of SLC-6 was complete. The complex was later rebuilt to serve as the west coast launch site for the Space Shuttle, but again went unused due to budget, safety and political considerations. The pad was subsequently used for several Athena launches before being modified to support the Delta IV launch vehicle family, which have used the pad since 2006. Launches from Vandenberg fly southward, allowing payloads to be placed in high-inclination orbits such as polar or Sun-synchronous orbit, which allow full global coverage on a regular basis and are often used for weather, Earth observation, and reconnaissance satellites. These orbits are difficult to reach from Cape Canaveral, where launches must fly eastward due to major population centers to both the north and south of Kennedy Space Center. Avoiding these would require hugely inefficient maneuvering, greatly reducing payload capacity.

  • Vandenberg Air Force Base

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    Vandenberg Air Force Base is a United States Air Force Base northwest of Lompoc, California. It is under the jurisdiction of the 30th Space Wing, Air Force Space Command (AFSPC). Vandenberg AFB is a Department of Defense space and missile testing base, with a mission of placing satellites into polar orbit from the West Coast using expendable boosters (Pegasus, Taurus, Minotaur, Atlas V, and Delta IV) and reusable boosters (SpaceX's Falcon 9). Wing personnel also support the Service's LGM-30G Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Force Development Evaluation program. In addition to its military mission, the base also leases launch pad facilities to SpaceX (SLC-4E), as well as leased to the California Spaceport in 1995. Established in 1941, the base is named in honor of former Air Force Chief of Staff General Hoyt Vandenberg.

  • Vandenberg AFB Space Launch Complex 4

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    Space Launch Complex 4 (SLC-4) is a launch and landing site at Vandenberg Air Force Base with two pads, both of which are used by SpaceX for Falcon 9 launch operations. The complex was previously used by Atlas and Titan rockets between 1963 and 2005. It consisted of two launch pads, SLC-4W and SLC-4E, which were formerly designated PALC2-3 and PALC2-4 respectively. Both pads were built for use by Atlas-Agena rockets, but were later rebuilt to handle Titan rockets. The designation SLC-4 was applied at the time of the conversion to launch Titans. Both pads at Space Launch Complex 4 are currently leased by SpaceX. SLC-4E is leased as a launch site for the Falcon 9 rocket, which first flew from Vandenberg on 29 September 2013, following a 24-month refurbishment program which had started in early 2011. SpaceX began a five-year lease of Launch Complex 4 West in February 2015 in order to use that area as a landing pad to bring back VTVL Return-To-Launch-Site (RTLS) first-stage boosters of the reusable Falcon 9 launch vehicle. That pad was later named by SpaceX as Landing Zone 4 and first used operationally for a Falcon 9 booster landing in 2018.

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