Vandenberg Air Force Base Launches
These are the launches illustrated on the page below. Click on a link to go directly to that launch.
Titan IV, December 20, 1996
Peacekeeper, May 30, 1996
Titan IV, May 12, 1996
Delta 2, Midcourse Space Experiment satellite, April 24, 1996
Delta, October 1995
Peacekeeper, March 1995
Atlas, January 1995
Titan 2G/Clementine, January 25, 1994
Peacekeeper, July 14, 1993
Delta/Cosmic Background Explorer, November 19, 1989
Scout/Oscar, August 24, 1988
Peacekeeper, May 14, 1988
Scout/Oscar, April 25, 1988
Delta/Infra-Red Astronomical Satellite, January 1983
Delta/Landsat D, July 19, 1982
(Download a higher resolution picture by clicking on any picture below.)
A Titan IV carrying an undisclosed Department of Defence payload was launched at 10:04 A. M. on Friday December 20, 1996 from Space Launch Complex 4E at Vandenberg Air Force Base.
Time exposure of a Peacekeeper launched Thursday, May 30, 1996 at 1:01 A.M.
A Titan IV carrying a Department of Defence sea surface surveillance payload was launched at 2:32 P. M. on Sunday, May 12, 1996 from Vandenberg Air Force Base. I was parked on Ocean Road west of Lompoc, about 4 miles from SLC-4.
A few seconds after 2:32, the Titan rose silently from behind the hills which blocked our view of the launch pad.
Shortly after this picture was taken, the first sudden sound from the rocket smacked us hard.
Vapor billows around the payload shroud as dynamic pressure approaches maximum.
The solid fuel boosters are jettisoned after burnout.
The boosters fallaway from the accelerating core vehicle.
The smoke trail hanging over the launch pad. 28mm lens.
The smoke trail leading downrange, toward the southeast. 28mm lens.
This P-3 Orion from the Naval Air Weapons Center at Pt. Mugu approached from the west shortly after the launch. It must have had a nice view.
The Midcourse Space Experiment satellite was launched by a Delta 2 shortly before dawn on Wednesday, April 24, 1996. The rising sun illuminated its exhaust trail.
Fog in the Santa Ynez Valley discouraged me from trying to get out to Surf Beach, so I headed up to the crest of the Santa Ynez mountains to photograph this sunrise Delta launch in October 1995.
This time exposure of a Peacekeeper launch in March 1995 was taken in Goleta. Comparison with the photo above shows the difference between the launch trajectory for a polar orbit and that for an ICBM suborbital flight to Kwajalein Atoll, 8,000 miles and thirty minutes away.
Time exposure of an Atlas launched in January 1995 photographed from Goleta. The break in the streak is a palm tree.
Clementine starts its journey to the moon on January 25, 1994 from Space Launch Complex 4W (SLC-4W) on a refurbished Titan 2G ICBM. SLC-4E, which is used for Titan IV launches is seen to the left. Members of the Planetary Society were hosted by the Air Force at the airfield on the base. It is a bit farther from the launch pad than Ocean Drive, but has a direct view of it.
Titan II/Clementine Launch from Vandenberg AFB, January 25, 1994: The Clementine mission was launched to the Moon by a Titan II rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base on January 25, 1994. In the minutes before launch, a Bell-UH-1 Huey patrolled the base and a fire truck demonstrated its capability.
The twisted trail of a Peacekeeper launched July 14, 1993.
Detail shot of the same Peacekeeper launch.
The Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE) launched at sunrise on a Delta on November 19, 1989. The launch pad was still dark, but the Delta climbed into the sunlight shortly after launch. We could see the first set of six solid fuel boosters fall away.
From our point of view, the Delta carrying COBE passed close to the setting moon.
After the launch, the change in illumination is evident along the smoke trail of the Delta which passes close to the moon. Note the shadows the trail casts on the atmosphere.
Time exposure of the launch of another Navy Scout carrying Oscar satellites. This was shot from Lake Los Carneros in Goleta on August 24, 1988. Scattered clouds obscure portions of the streak of light
I think this might be the trail of a Peacekeeper launched on May 14, 1988, as seen from Santa Barbara. Venus appears again at the top, and Mercury is visible near the horizon a little to the right.
This is the trail from a Navy Scout rocket launched on April 25, 1988 a couple of hours after the launch as seen from Goleta, about 50 miles from the lauch site. I think it carried Oscar navigation satellites.
This is a detail of the trail from that Navy Scout. The planet Venus shines at top center.
A night Delta Launch. Infrared Astronomical Satellite (IRAS) launched in January 1983 photographed from Surf Beach.
It was an overcast day on July 19, 1982 when Landsat D was launched on a Delta. Surf Beach at the end of Ocean Drive provides a good view of the launch pad from about 8 miles away.
More photographs of rocket and missile launches from Vandenberg Air Force Base from 1997 to the present.
Link to the home page of the 30th Space Wing
Call the Vandenberg Air Force Base Launch Hotline at (805) 606-1857 for current launch schedule information.
The So Cal Sky Lights web site has rocket launches and other sky phenomena.
Link to the NASA rocket launch manifest
For national and international space coverage visit SPACE.com
Brian Webb's Rawhide Space Page provides launch schedule and ham radio information.
You can buy a 2018 calendar featuring my photographs of rocket launches from Vandenberg Air Force Base.
Photos of thirteen rocket launches from Vandenberg Air Force Base:
Pegasus-XL/Wide-Field Infra-red Explorer (WIRE) March 4, 1999
Atlas-IIAS/Terra December 18, 1999
Delta II/Gravity Probe B, April 20, 2004
Minotaur/Streak September 22, 2005
Titan IV/National Reconnaissance Office satellite, October 19, 2005
Minuteman III, February 16, 2006
Minuteman III, April 2, 2008
Target Launch Vehicle, September 24, 2008
Delta-II/GeoEye 1, September 6, 2008
Delta II/Jason 2, June 20, 2008
Delta II/COSMO-Skymed, October 24, 2008
Taurus/Orbiting Carbon Observatory, February 24, 2009
Delta-II/Worldview 2, October 28, 2009
Put a copy of the Rocket Launches from Vandenberg Air Force Base: 2018 Calendar in your Lulu.com shopping cart for $14.95.
Send a message to Brian.
Go to home page of the Goleta Air and Space Museum.