4th Space Launch Squadron
|4th Space Launch Squadron
|Branch||United States Air Force|
|Part of||Air Force Space Command|
|Garrison/HQ||Vandenberg AFB, California|
|Decorations||Air Force Outstanding Unit Award|
|4th Space Launch Squadron emblem (approved 31 March 1995)|
The United States Air Force's 4th Space Launch Squadron is a space launch unit located at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. It was active at Vandemberg from 1994 to 1998 and again from 2003. It launches various satellites into orbit from the complex of launch pads at Vandenberg.
The 4th Space Launch Squadron is the Air Force's Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) launch agency for the West Coast. The EELV system is a liquid-fueled first stage Common Booster Core (CBC) that can be used alone, with strap-on solid fuel rocket boosters, or as a configuration of three CBCs acting as a more powerful booster.
The squadron was activated at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California on 15 April 1994. Until it was inactivated in June 1998, it launched surveillance and meteorological satellites into polar orbit.
Since reactivation in 2003, the squadron has managed operations for EELVs. The EELV program is intended to develop provide alternatives to older and expensive heavy-lift launch vehicles, such as the Titan IV. EELVs include:
- The Boeing Delta IV. There are different configurations for the Delta IV, which can lift payloads from 9,000 lb to over 13,000 lb into Geosynchronous Orbit.
- The Lockheed Martin Atlas V . This system also has different available configurations, and can lift payloads between 10,000 lb and 30,000 lb to Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit.
- The Delta II, a heritage vehicle smaller than the newer Delta IV. The Delta II can have up to nine external rockets strapped to its main stage, increasing lift capability. It can send approximately 4,000 lb into Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit.
- Constituted as the 4th Space Launch Squadron on 29 March 1994
- Activated on 15 April 1994
- Inactivated on 29 June 1998
- Activated on 1 December 2003
- Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, 15 April 1994 – 29 June 1998
- Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, 1 December 2003 – present
|Air Force Outstanding Unit Award||1 October 1994 – 30 September 1996||4th Space Launch Squadron|
|Air Force Outstanding Unit Award||1 October 1996 – 30 September 1997||4th Space Launch Squadron|
|Air Force Outstanding Unit Award||1 January 1997 – 31 December 1997||4th Space Launch Squadron|
|Air Force Outstanding Unit Award||1 January 1998 – 29 June 1998||4th Space Launch Squadron|
|Air Force Outstanding Unit Award||1 October 2009 – 30 September 2010||4th Space Launch Squadron|
- Titan II (1997–1998)
- Titan IV (1995–1997)
- Delta IV (2003–present)
- Atlas V (2003–present)
- Robertson, Patsy (March 17, 2015). "Factsheet 4 Space Launch Squadron (AFSPC)". Air Force Historical Research Agency. Archived from the original on September 27, 2015. Retrieved August 7, 2018.
- No byline (February 1, 2007). "About us: 4th Space Launch Squadron". 30th Space Wing Public Affairs. Retrieved August 8, 2018.