It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
The first missile launch from Vandenberg AFB was a Thor IRBM on December 16, 1958. Two months later on February 28, 1959, the world's first polar orbiting satellite, Discoverer I, lifted into space from a Thor/Agena booster combination. The Atlas made its debut West Coast flight on September 9. The following month, equipped with a nuclear warhead, Vandenberg became the site of the first ICBM to be placed on alert in the United States.
In 1961, the Titan I entered the inventory at Vandenberg AFB, but a more advanced version with storable propellants, all inertial guidance, and in-silo launch capability--the Titan II--was already in the process of development. More importantly, the solid-propellant, three-stage Minuteman ICBM was under development and began flight tests at Vandenberg in September 1962.
In subsequent years, other launch vehicles followed including the Peacekeeper (MX) ICBM beginning in June 1983, the Titan IV space booster in March 1991, the air-launched Pegasus booster in April 1995, and most recently the Delta II commercial space booster in February 1996. By April 1996, 1,721 orbital and ballistic missiles had lifted off from Vandenberg AFB.
The 30th Space Wing at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., is the Air Force Space Command organization responsible for all Department of Defense space and missile launch activities on the West Coast. All U.S. satellites destined for near polar orbit are launched from Vandenberg.
The wing supports West Coast launch activities for the Air Force, Department of Defense, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and various private industry contractors. The wing launches a variety of expendable vehicles including Atlas V, Delta IV, Titan IV, Delta II, Pegasus, Minotaur, Taurus and Falcon. The wing also supports Force Development and Evaluation of all intercontinental ballistic missiles.