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Vandenberg Air Force Base

Location: California

Also Known As: The northern section of Vandenberg Air Force Base was also known as Camp Cooke (U.S. Army) and Cooke Air Force Base. The southern section was also known as Point Arguello (U.S. Navy).

National Register of Historic Places: Space Launch Complex 10 was designated National Historic Landmark #86003511 in 1986 by the National Park Service.

Historical Summary

The land destined to become a U.S. Army installation called Camp Cooke was acquired by the Army in March 1941. Construction of the camp began in September 1941 and activation took place on 5 October 1941. The installation was named Camp Cooke in honor of Major General Philip St. George Cooke. Construction continued into 1942 simultaneously with troop training of the 5th Armored Division and its tanks and artillery. Other training included anti-aircraft artillery, combat engineer, ordnance, and hospital units. Later in the war, German and Italian prisoners of war were quartered at Camp Cooke. In 1946, the Army constructed a maximum-security disciplinary barracks on a portion of Camp Cooke. Camp Cooke closed in June 1946. In response to the Korean War, Camp Cooke was reactivated for combat training between August 1950 and February 1953, after which the camp was closed again.

In November 1956, the Army transferred 64,000 acres of northern Camp Cooke to the U.S. Air Force for use as a missile launch and training base. The remote location along the west coast was ideal for ballistic missile launches into the Pacific Ocean. The site also provided the added benefit of a safe polar orbital launch path away from populated land areas.

The Air Force acquired the entire northern part of Camp Cooke from the Army in 1957, named it Cooke Air Force Base, and began construction of missile launch facilities. Shortly after the Soviet Sputnik launch in October 1957, the Air Force transferred management responsibilities for Cooke Air Force Base from Air Research and Development Command (ARDC) to the Strategic Air Command (SAC) for the purpose of training missile launch crews.

On 4 October 1958, Cooke Air Force Base was renamed Vandenberg Air Force Base in honor of the late General Hoyt S. Vandenberg, the second Air Force Chief of Staff. The first missile launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base was a Thor Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile (IRBM) on 16 December 1958.

The southern portion of Cape Cooke was transferred to the U.S. Navy in May 1958 for creation of a missile facility at Point Arguello. Point Arguello was transferred to the Air Force in July 1964. Other remote properties were transferred to Vandenberg Air Force Base in February 1965. A major land acquisition occurred in March 1966 for construction of Space Launch Complex 6 to be used for the proposed Manned Orbiting Laboratory (MOL) program.

Today, Vandenberg Air Force Base is commanded by the 30th Space Wing under the control of Air Force Space Command and the base is still used for training missile crews, launching Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM) for crew training, launching satellites into polar orbits and supporting other space and missile programs.

Abbreviations used in the following charts
ABRES Advanced Ballistic Re-entry Systems
BMRS Ballistic Missile Re-entry Systems
BOM Bomarc
LC Launch Complex
LE Launch Emplacement
LF Launch Facility
OSTF Operational System Test Facility (for Atlas)
OSTF Operational Silo Test Facility or Operational Suitability Test Facility (for Titan)
PALC Point Arguello Launch Complex
PLC Probe Launch Complex
SLC Space Launch Complex
SLTF Silo Launch Test Facility (for Titan)
75 SM-75 (the military designation of the Thor IRBM)
394 394th Strategic Missile Squadron (Minuteman ICBM)
395 395th Strategic Missile Squadron (Titan ICBM)
576 576th Strategic Missile Squadron (Atlas ICBM)
4300 4300th Missile Squadron

Area Name Complex Pad/Silo Current Designation Also Known As
75 Area
75-1 Pad 1 SLC-2 East  
Pad 2 SLC-2 West  
75-2 Pad 6 SLC-10 West LE-6
4300 B-6
Space & Missile Heritage Center
Pad 7 SLC-10 East LE-7
Pad 8   LE-8
75-3 Pad 4 SLC-1 West  
Pad 5 SLC-1 East  
        4300 C-6
576 Area
576 A Pad 1   4300 A-1
Pad 2   4300 A-2
Pad 3   ABRES A-3
576 B Pad 1 (coffin)   ABRES B-1
Pad 2 (coffin)   ABRES B-2
Pad 3 (coffin)   ABRES B-3
576 C Pad (coffin)    
576 D Silo    
576 E Silo    
576 F Pad (coffin)   OSTF-1
576 G Silo   OSTF-2
395 Area
  Silo   OSTF
  Silo   SLTF
395 A Silo 1   Test & Training
Facility 1
Silo 2  
Silo 3  
395 B Silo   Test & Training
Facility 2
395 C Silo    
395 D Silo    
394 Area
  Silo LF-02 394 A-01
Silo LF-03 394 A-02
Silo LF-04 394 A-03
Silo LF-05 394 A-04
Silo LF-06 394 A-05
Silo LF-07 394 A-06
Silo LF-08 394 A-07
Silo LF-09 394 A-08
  Silo LF-10 LF-22
Silo LF-21  
Silo LF-23  
Silo LF-24  
Silo LF-25  
Silo LF-26  
    Pad   Test Pad 01
BOM Area
BOM 1 & 2 Pad 1   BOM-1
Pad 2   BOM-2
Point Arguello
Launch Complexes
PALC 1 Pad 1 SLC-3 West  
Pad 2 SLC-3 East  
PALC2 Pad 3 SLC-4 West  
Pad 4 SLC-4 East  
SLC-8 California Commercial Spaceport
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Launch Facility Designations

Many launch facility designations at Vandenberg Air Force Base have had more than one designation. This chart with associated links, is an attempt to present a correlated view of all the known launch facilities with known names.