jump to navigation

Space Launch Complex 6 [SLC-6] — Vandenberg Air Force Base January 9, 2014

Posted by sandyclaus in NSA, Security.

The Advanced KEYHOLE [\”KH-12\”] was a driving force behind the decision to build the the Space Launch Complex 6 (SLC-6) at Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB). The satellite needed a polar orbit for coverage, and VAFB \”could provide near polar and retrograde azimuth launches which could not be achieved efficiently or safely from Kennedy.\”(3) The importance of accommodating the new generation reconnaissance satellite was DOD\’s underlying rationale for a West coast launch site.

However, the SLC-6 (pronounced slick six) facility was plagued by problems, including faulty construction, unanticipated operational hazards such as the weather, and the need for augmentation shuttle in order to boost the heavy KH-12. These problems delayed the initial operation of SLC-6 as well as the KH-12\’s debut, which, prior to the cancellation of West coast shuttle operations, was scheduled for the second Vandenberg shuttle flight. The expensive and problem-ridden SLC-6 complex itself came under increasing fire as critics urged rapid development of new expendable launch vehicles capable of boosting heavy payloads into polar orbit.

The SLC-6 saga illuminates the KH-12\’s impact on the space program not only regarding the decision to build the nearly three billion dollar launch site, but also because of shuttle design changes made to accommodate the satellite.

After Vandenberg was chosen as an STS launch site, the Air Force argued that conversion of SLC-6\’s partially complete Titan 3 facilities – the remains of the canceled Manned Orbiting Laboratory (MOL) program – would save over $100 million by precluding `bare ground\’ construction of Shuttle facilities.(4) Modification of existing MOL facilities nonetheless was extensive.

via Space Launch Complex 6 [SLC-6] — Vandenberg Air Force Base.



No comments yet — be the first.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: