30th Space Wing

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30th Space Wing
30th Space Wing.png
Active 1964–present
Country United States
Branch Air Force
Type Satellite Launch
Part of Air Force Space Command
Garrison/HQ Vandenberg Air Force Base
Decorations Outstanding Unit ribbon.svg AFOUA
Organizational Excellence ribbon.svg AFOEA
Commanders
Current
commander
Colonel Keith Balts
Notable
commanders
C. Robert Kehler
Lance W. Lord

The 30th Space Wing (30 SW) is an air force wing forming a subordinate unit of the Fourteenth Air Force of the Air Force Space Command of the United States Air Force. The 30th Space Wing is based at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.

The 30 SW 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.

Overview[edit]

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 the Delta II, Pegasus, Taurus, Atlas, Titan II and Titan IV. The wing also supports Force Development and Evaluation of all intercontinental ballistic missiles.

The 30th SW is home to the Western Range and manages Department of Defense space and missile testing, and placing satellites into near-polar orbit from the West Coast, using expendable boosters (Delta II, Atlas, Titan II and Titan IV.) Wing personnel also support the Service's Minuteman III and Peacekeeper Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Follow-on Operational Test and Evaluation Launch program. The Western Range begins at the coastal boundaries of Vandenberg and extends westward from the California coast to the western Pacific including sites in Hawaii. Operations there involve dozens of federal and commercial interests.

The Western Range is operated and maintained by the 30th Range Squadron. It is a vast tracking, telemetry, and command complex whose boundary begins along Vandenberg's California coastline and extends westward across the Pacific Ocean. The range consists of electronic and optical tracking systems located along the Pacific Coast that collect and process launch-related data for a variety of users.

Units[edit]

Additionally, the 30th Comptroller Squadron (30 CPTS) reports directly to the wing commander.

History[edit]

For additional history and lineage, see 30th Operations Group

Lineage[edit]

  • Established as Air Force Western Test Range, and activated, on 5 May 1964
Organized on 15 May 1964
Inactivated on 1 April 1970
  • Redesignated Western Space and Missile Center, and activated, on 1 October 1979
Redesignated 30 Space Wing on 19 November 1991

Assignments[edit]

Components[edit]

Groups

  • 30 Operations: 19 November 1991–present
  • 30 Launch: 1 December 2003–present
  • 6595 Missile Test (later, 6595 Test and Evaluation): 1 October 1979 – 1 October 1990
  • 6595 Satellite Test (later, 6595 Aerospace Test): 1 October 1979 – 1 October 1990
  • 6595 Shuttle Test: 1 October 1979 – 31 January 1987.

Stations[edit]

Aircraft and Missiles[edit]

Operations[edit]

Upon activation in 1964 the future 30th SW operated and maintained the Western Test Range. The 30th conducted strategic missile test programs, including Minuteman force reliability assessment and Peacekeeper flight development efforts. The Wing maintained launch and support facilities for the Space Shuttle from 1984–1987. It conducted other aerospace systems launching and tracking operations at the California launch site and at several fixed and mobile instrumentation sites in the Pacific. The 30th also provided support personnel to USAF units deployed to Southwest Asia from August 1990 – April 1991, and to Saudi Arabia on a rotational basis thereafter.

Most recently it has also deployed personnel in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Delta IV for NRO[edit]

On 20 January 2011, the 30th Space Wing and their commercial partners successfully launched a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket into space from Vandenberg AFB, Calif. This was the first-ever West Coast launch of the Delta IV Heavy. The 235-foot-tall launch vehicle, the largest ever fired from the US West Coast, carried a classified US intelligence satellite, USA-224, aloft for the a top-secret National Reconnaissance Office.[1]

References[edit]

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Air Force Historical Research Agency.