||This article only describes one highly specialized aspect of its associated subject. (July 2013)|
The Western Range (WR) is the space launch range that supports the major launch head at Vandenberg Air Force Base.:pg 15 Managed by the 30th Space Wing,:pg 25 the WR extends from the West Coast of the United States to 90 degrees East longitude in the Indian Ocean:pg 27 where it meets the Eastern Range:pg 10 Operations involve military, government, and commercial interests. The WR is operated under by a civilian contractor since its establishment, following the precedent of the Eastern Range. On 2003-10-01, InDyne Inc. took over the range contract from ITT Industries which had operated the range for the previous 44 years.
The Navy established the Naval Missile Facility at Point Arguello (NMFPA) after transfer from Army of 19,800 acres from the southern portion of Camp Cooke, a World War II training and POW facility then a maximum security Disciplinary Barracks site, in May 1958. Cooke Air Force Base, later Vandenberg Air Force Base, was established on 64,000 acres of the northern portion. The Secretary of Defense directed the of the Navy to establish the Pacific Missile Range (PMR) with headquarters at Point Mugu and instrumentation sites along the California coast and downrange in the Pacific Ocean. By agreements between the Navy and the Air Force nearly all launches from Vandenberg came under the command and control of Navy and the PMR.
Air Force—Western Test Range
Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara directed restructure of the missile ranges on 16 November 1963 with the effective date of 1 July 1964 on which major sections of the Navy's Pacific Missile Range were transferred to the United States Air Force. In a final transfer on 1 February 1965 the Air Force, with headquarters at Vandenberg Air Force Base, took control of Pillar Point, California, two sites in Hawaii, Canton Island, Midway Island, and Wake Island in the mid-Pacific as well as Eniwetok and Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands. Air Force also took control of the six range instrumented ships Huntsville, Longview, Range Tracker, Richfield, Sunnyvale, and Watertown. The Navy retained a missile test facility at Point Mugu. In 1979 the name was shortened to simply the Western Test Range.
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- 1959-02-28 - Discoverer 1 - first spacecraft placed in a polar orbit.
- 2013-09-29 – Falcon 9 Flight 6, the first launch of the Falcon 9 v1.1 launch vehicle from a privately developed leased launchpad at Vandenberg Air Force Base was used in an unusual post-mission launch vehicle test. The first-stage booster of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will conduct a propulsive-return over-water test. After the second stage with the CASSIOPE payload separates from the booster, the booster will do a retro burn to reduce velocity from approximately Mach 10 (7,600 mph; 12,000 km/h) to a controllable descent velocity, and then a second burn just before it reaches the water to simulate a vertical landing of the first stage. This will be the first high-altitude, high-velocity test of the SpaceX reusable launch system development program.
- Federation of American Scientists.
- "Chapter 1: Eastern and Western Range Safety Policies and Processes 31 December 1999 Change to 1997 EWR" (PDF). Retrieved 2008-08-31.
- Center for Aerospace Technology (CAST) (February 2000). "30th SPACE WING/VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE LAUNCH SITE SAFETY ASSESSMENT" (PDF). Research Triangle Institute Center for Aerospace Technology (CAST). Federal Aviation Administration Associate Administrator for Commercial Space Transportation. Retrieved 2008-08-31.
- Mr. Loyd C. Parker; Mr. Jerry D. Watson; Mr. James F. Stephenson (July 1989). "BASELINE ASSESSMENT WESTERN SPACE AND MISSILE CENTER" (PDF). RESEARCH TRIANGLE INSTITUTE CENTER FOR SYSTEMS ENGINEERING FLORIDA OFFICE for U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION OFFICE OF COMMERCIAL SPACE TRANSPORTATION. Retrieved 2008-06-02.
- Janene Scully (2003-07-14). "New leader of Western Range signed at VAFB" (PDF). Santa Maria Times (copy on InDyne website). Pulitzer Central Coast Newspapers. Retrieved 2008-06-02.
- 30th Space Wing History Office.
- 30th SW Public Affairs. "Space Vehicles : History Office : History Office". Retrieved 2008-08-31.
- "NASA - NSSDC - Spacecraft - Details NSSDC ID: 1959-002A". Retrieved 2008-08-31.
- Foust, Jeff (2013-03-27). "After Dragon, SpaceX’s focus returns to Falcon". NewSpace Journal. Retrieved 2013-04-05.
- Lindsey, Clark (2013-03-28). "SpaceX moving quickly towards fly-back first stage". NewSpace Watch. Retrieved 2013-03-29. (subscription required (. ))
- Federation of American Scientists. "Western Range (U)". Federation of American Scientists. Retrieved 16 June 2015.
- Gruss, Mike (6 April 2015). "Raytheon Team Wins $2 Billion Air Force Range Support Contract". Space News. Retrieved 8 April 2015.
- 30th Space Wing History Office. "U.S. Air Force Fact Sheet". 30th Space Wing Public Affairs. Retrieved 16 June 2015.
- Western Test Range Handbook, Defense Technical Information Center, July 1981.
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