Santa Maria Sun / News
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 14, Issue 30
First-ever SpaceX rocket takes flight from Vandenberg Air Force Base
BY AMY ASMAN
A Falcon-9 rocket took to the sky Sept. 29 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in Lompoc. It was the first launch of a rocket belonging to Space Exploration Technologies, better known as SpaceX.
The 30th Space Wing’s 1st Air and Space Test Squadron oversaw the mission, evaluating SpaceX’s flight and ground systems and processes and procedures for the inaugural launch.
In 2012, the Hawthorne-based company took over Space Complex 4, the former home of the Titan IV program, investing upward of $30 million to renovate the existing facility and build a massive hanger to house and assemble its Falcon Heavy rocket.
“The work SpaceX does is incredibly exciting,” SpaceX spokesperson Kirstin Grantham told the Sun in a February 2012 interview. “We are hoping to fundamentally change American space flight and the space flight industry, and Vandenberg is going to be an incredibly important home for SpaceX as we start to carry out those efforts.”
Second Lt. Kaylee Ausbun, a spokesperson for Vandenberg Air Force Base, said having another space exploration company on base in addition to United Launch Alliance will help foster more competition.
“Obviously we’re always looking to create a more competitive environment,” Ausbun said. “Having another customer on base will allow for possibly more launches, and it will bring more jobs to Vandenberg.”
She said the base expects to have three more SpaceX launches next year.
A SpaceX media representative couldn’t be reached for additional comment as of press time.