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Vandenberg Air Force Base Launches
1982 - 1996

Go to the Home PageThese 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.)

Titan IV, December 20, 1996

Titan IV launch, December 20, 1996 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.


Peacekeeper, May 30, 1996

Peacekeeper, May 30, 1996 Time exposure of a Peacekeeper launched Thursday, May 30, 1996 at 1:01 A.M.


Titan IV, May 12, 1996

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.

Titan IV, May 12, 1996 A few seconds after 2:32, the Titan rose silently from behind the hills which blocked our view of the launch pad.

Titan IV, May 12, 1996 Shortly after this picture was taken, the first sudden sound from the rocket smacked us hard.

Titan IV, May 12, 1996 Vapor billows around the payload shroud as dynamic pressure approaches maximum.

Titan IV, May 12, 1996 The solid fuel boosters are jettisoned after burnout.

Titan IV, May 12, 1996 The boosters fallaway from the accelerating core vehicle.

Titan IV, May 12, 1996 The smoke trail hanging over the launch pad. 28mm lens.

Titan IV, May 12, 1996 The smoke trail leading downrange, toward the southeast. 28mm lens.

P-3 Orion observation plane 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.


Delta 2, Midcourse Space Experiment satellite, April 24, 1996

Delta 2, Midcourse Space Experiment satellite, April 24, 1996 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.


Delta, October 1995

Delta, October 1995 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.


Peacekeeper, March 1995

Peacekeeper, March 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.


Atlas, January 1995

Atlas, January 1995 Time exposure of an Atlas launched in January 1995 photographed from Goleta. The break in the streak is a palm tree.


Titan 2G/Clementine, January 25, 1994

Titan 2G/Clementine, January 25, 1994 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.


Peacekeeper, July 14, 1993

Peacekeeper, July 14, 1993 The twisted trail of a Peacekeeper launched July 14, 1993.

Peacekeeper, July 14, 1993 Detail shot of the same Peacekeeper launch.


Delta/Cosmic Background Explorer, November 19, 1989

Delta/Cosmic Background Explorer, November 19, 1989 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.

Delta/Cosmic Background Explorer, November 19, 1989 From our point of view, the Delta carrying COBE passed close to the setting moon.

Delta/Cosmic Background Explorer, November 19, 1989 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.


Scout/Oscar, August 24, 1988

Scout/Oscar, August 24, 1988 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


Peacekeeper, May 14, 1988

Peacekeeper, May 14, 1988 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.


Scout/Oscar, April 25, 1988

Scout/Oscar, April 25, 1988 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.

Scout/Oscar, April 25, 1988 This is a detail of the trail from that Navy Scout. The planet Venus shines at top center.


Delta/Infra-Red Astronomical Satellite, January 1983

Delta/Infra-Red Astronomical Satellite, January 1983 A night Delta Launch. Infrared Astronomical Satellite (IRAS) launched in January 1983 photographed from Surf Beach.


Delta/Landsat D, July 19, 1982

Delta/Landsat D, July 19, 1982 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.


Vandenberg Air Force Base Launches from 1997 to the Present:

Vandenberg Launches 1997 to the Present More photographs of rocket and missile launches from Vandenberg Air Force Base from 1997 to the present.


Vandenberg AFB launch updats by email.

Link to the home page of the 30th Space Wing 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.

NASA rocket launch manifest 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.




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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

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