Author Topic: SpaceX Vandenberg SFB facilities (was VAFB)  (Read 79898 times)

Offline joek

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Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #40 on: 06/24/2019 01:34 am »
What makes you think they're ever going to fly F9 from Boca Chica?
The original EIS?  Admittedly dated (2014-2015) and events may have overtaken, but not an unreasonable question to ask.

Offline BrianNH

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Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #41 on: 06/24/2019 12:29 pm »
They could streamline by moving their manufacturing and testing facilities to Cape Canaveral, as Blue Origin is doing.  However, they are already planning to do that for Starship and as they see Starship as replacing the Falcons, it would be difficult to justify the expense and loss of experienced staffing. 

If they keep Vandenberg, they could look at doing tourist launches from there, but this would undoubtedly require some investments.

Offline Lar

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Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #42 on: 06/24/2019 10:27 pm »
Guessing games are fun but I rather just read the analysis and see if I agree.

Woods170 is welcome to explain or not, as they wish, but I hope they choose to stop dropping hints and just lay it out. Without compromising sources, of course .
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Offline jstrotha0975

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Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #43 on: 06/24/2019 11:30 pm »
I don't think the Military would want civilians launching from Vandenberg.

Offline cscott

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Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #44 on: 06/25/2019 12:12 am »
The whole issue of shutting down VAFB is because leadership EDIT: the local community at Vandenberg has been hostile to increased commercial usage of the facility.  Adding commercial passenger flights is definitely not a likely outcome.
« Last Edit: 06/25/2019 05:00 pm by cscott »

Offline OxCartMark

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Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #45 on: 06/25/2019 01:38 am »
Alternative to laying off workforce there because there are so few launches would be for SpaceX to build or buy a building nearby and employ the employees with some other useful tasks in the non-launch prep times.  Not sure what but SpaceX has a plethora of items on its to do list some subset of which surely would align with available skill sets.  That location would be closer to HQ than TX of FL sites.
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Offline nukie19

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Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #46 on: 06/25/2019 01:48 pm »
The whole issue of shutting down VAFB is because leadership at Vandenberg has been hostile to increased commercial usage of the facility.  Adding commercial passenger flights is definitely not a likely outcome.

Hostile?  Where is that coming from?  Are you really using a quote from the commander of the 45th who was highlighting the benefits of his base as your basis for that?  :o

Offline Lar

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Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #47 on: 06/25/2019 04:10 pm »
I don't think the Military would want civilians launching from Vandenberg.
Might want to talk to Iridium, SpaceX launched a bunch of civilian payloads for them from Vandy... 
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Offline cscott

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Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #48 on: 06/25/2019 04:59 pm »
Sorry, it wasn't the commander who was hostile, it was the "local community and state":


https://www.floridatoday.com/story/tech/science/space/2017/12/31/southbound-cape-rockets-may-fly-new-path-toward-poles/975027001/

[...]

 there was this quote from Brig. Gen. Wayne Monteith, commander of the 45th Space Wing at the Cape recognizing the difficulty of launching from VAFB:

Quote
Though Vandenberg typically hosts just a few orbital rocket launches a year (but eight in 2017), getting on its schedule can be a challenge. The base must prioritize test flights of Minuteman intercontinental ballistic missiles and Missile Defense Agency interceptors, and is not as accustomed to quick turnarounds between launches.

In addition, Monteith said his counterpart leading the 30th Space Wing does not enjoy the same level of support found on the Space Coast.

“He was talking about things that I have no experience with whatsoever, and that is almost an adversarial relationship with the local community and state on bringing in new business and fostering commercial growth,” Monteith said at a Dec. 12 transportation conference at Port Canaveral. “They are at a crossroads.”

Regardless, my conclusion holds.

Offline Kabloona

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Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #49 on: 06/25/2019 05:42 pm »
The whole issue of shutting down VAFB is because leadership EDIT: the local community at Vandenberg has been hostile to increased commercial usage of the facility.  Adding commercial passenger flights is definitely not a likely outcome.

Your original wording may not have been off target. It took an inexplicably long time for VAFB Range to approve RTLS landings, much longer than it did at the Cape. Plus, as has been pointed out, VAFB's top priority is ICBM test launches. Everything else gets lower priority, except maybe NatSec launches.

Maybe community resistance is in fact the obstacle at VAFB, but if the real obstacle is VAFB top brass, General Monteith would of course not feel free to say so in public. So I'm not sure we can take what he said as the whole truth.
« Last Edit: 06/25/2019 05:43 pm by Kabloona »

Offline Kabloona

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Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #50 on: 07/03/2019 04:01 pm »
More insight into what is happening at VAFB:

https://spacenews.com/vandenberg-wooing-tenants-as-launch-activity-slows-down/

Reading between the lines, it's evident there is a bureaucratic inertia at VAFB that makes it difficult for commercial operators to do business there.

Quote
One of the lessons from working with SpaceX is that the Air Force has to adapt, said Hough. “It’s a challenge for us. It’s challenging to work with commercial companies. We’re inherently bureaucratic, which means we’re slow and methodical.”

Companies like SpaceX “keep us on our toes,” said Hough. “When they have to get a satellite on orbit, they are very demanding of us,” he said. “We appreciate what they do. It is frustrating at times,” Hough said. “But we have learned a lot working with them, which helps us.”

To position the range for the future, said Hough, “we need innovative airmen to help figure out new processes.

When I was a young lieutenant managing rocket propulsion research programs at Edwards AFB, there was a staff sergeant I had to go through to requisition materials. The sign on her desk said "Lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part."

In other words, "I don't care how fast you need something done, I'll take my own sweet time doing it, cuz you're not my boss." The military bureaucracy is full of that kind of attitude, and I suspect that's what Col. Hough is dealing with at VAFB.

There's also Col. Hough's realization that polar missions may shift to the Cape:

Quote
In order to achieve polar orbit there is no better place to be than Vandenberg,” Hough said. Because of its location,  intercontinental ballistic missiles are launched over water without endangering populated areas. Satellites fly south into polar orbit without flying over any land masses. Nevertheless, launch providers remain ambivalent about investing in West Coast launch pads in the face of uncertain demand. “I think you’re going to see a day when they’re going to try hard to do it at the Cape,” he said. Launch activity at Cape Canaveral on the Florida space coast is growing. “I don’t blame companies for wanting to do that, and consolidate operations on the East Coast.”
« Last Edit: 07/04/2019 12:47 am by Kabloona »

Offline Ronsmytheiii

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Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #51 on: 07/10/2019 04:52 pm »
Seems like SpaceX is taking a page out of ULA's playbook:

Quote
According to the report, the downsizing would come from most, if not all, of ULA’s staff at Vandenberg Air Force Base over the next few months. Future launches would see East Coast launch teams travel to Vandenberg to process the rockets and payload as well as control the launch.

https://www.spaceflightinsider.com/organizations/ula/report-ula-to-layoff-vandenberg-staff-potentially-change-name/

Offline ThatOldJanxSpirit

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Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #52 on: 10/10/2019 07:14 am »

Quote
In order to achieve polar orbit there is no better place to be than Vandenberg,” Hough said. Because of its location,  intercontinental ballistic missiles are launched over water without endangering populated areas. Satellites fly south into polar orbit without flying over any land masses. Nevertheless, launch providers remain ambivalent about investing in West Coast launch pads in the face of uncertain demand. “I think you’re going to see a day when they’re going to try hard to do it at the Cape,” he said. Launch activity at Cape Canaveral on the Florida space coast is growing. “I don’t blame companies for wanting to do that, and consolidate operations on the East Coast.”

So the day has come. Saocom-1B is confirmed to be flying polar from the east coast.

In the short term this is going to save SpaceX a lot of effort through not having to re-activate Vandenberg facilities. Presumabl, if they can do this once, any mission with a sufficient delta V reserve is going to be able to fly from the cape; and I suspect that is going to be most of them.

Offline SoCal_Eyeball

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Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #53 on: 07/10/2020 06:49 pm »
I don't follow Vandenberg AFB too closely but it seems SpaceX has added some job listings there recently on their Careers page:

https://www.spacex.com/careers/?department=

I find most interesting the full time position for a Food Services Specialist.  Would that argue against previous assumptions they are scaling back operations there?  For the other positions, would it not make more sense to bring in crew for the occasional launch as needed?  Or cater food as needed?

Offline su27k

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Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #54 on: 07/11/2020 03:09 am »
They may need a more permanent presence if they win EELV2.

Offline ShawnGSE

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Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #55 on: 07/11/2020 04:05 am »
I don't follow Vandenberg AFB too closely but it seems SpaceX has added some job listings there recently on their Careers page:

https://www.spacex.com/careers/?department=

I find most interesting the full time position for a Food Services Specialist.  Would that argue against previous assumptions they are scaling back operations there?  For the other positions, would it not make more sense to bring in crew for the occasional launch as needed?  Or cater food as needed?

Not when you're serving 3 meals a day.  At the pads getting food off-base isn't practical.  At both sites you drive for 15 minutes or more from the gate the pad.  So SpaceX feeds everyone for free.  There are enough guys permanently stationed at Vandy to require actual food staff that cook some pretty legit meals.  Not quite the gourmet stuff you get at headquarters but better than fast food.

Offline Nomadd

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Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #56 on: 07/11/2020 04:48 am »
I don't follow Vandenberg AFB too closely but it seems SpaceX has added some job listings there recently on their Careers page:

https://www.spacex.com/careers/?department=

I find most interesting the full time position for a Food Services Specialist.  Would that argue against previous assumptions they are scaling back operations there?  For the other positions, would it not make more sense to bring in crew for the occasional launch as needed?  Or cater food as needed?

Not when you're serving 3 meals a day.  At the pads getting food off-base isn't practical.  At both sites you drive for 15 minutes or more from the gate the pad.  So SpaceX feeds everyone for free.  There are enough guys permanently stationed at Vandy to require actual food staff that cook some pretty legit meals.  Not quite the gourmet stuff you get at headquarters but better than fast food.
In BC, leftover lunches sometimes get dropped off at residences. Almost as good as fast food.
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Offline SoCal_Eyeball

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Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #57 on: 08/09/2020 03:02 am »
When  I posted up thread  (#53, July 10th) about new positions at VAFB, there were seven openings, now there are thirteen.  This new activity might be connected to the award yesterday by the Pentagon for its National Security Space Launch program.
 
https://www.defense.gov/Newsroom/Contracts/Contract/Article/2305454/

2nd paragraph:

"Space Exploration Technologies Corp., Hawthorne, California, has been awarded task orders for $316,000,000 for the National Security Space Launch (NSSL) Phase 2 contract. The NSSL Phase 2 contract is a firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery requirements contract for launch service procurements supporting launches planned between fiscal 2022 through fiscal 2027. This launch service contract includes early integration studies, launch service support, fleet surveillance, launch vehicle production, mission integration, mission launch operations, mission assurance, spaceflight worthiness, and mission unique activities for each mission. Work will be performed in Hawthorne, California; Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida; and Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, and is expected to be completed March 2028."

Since a number of those military payloads can be quite large, I wonder if there is a chance launch facilities for Falcon Heavy might now be reconsidered, as originally envisioned in 2011.  For those who may not have known, or who forgot:

https://www.latimes.com/business/la-xpm-2011-jul-12-la-fi-vandenberg-launchsite-20110713-story.html

At that July 2011 ground breaking was then Lt. Governor, now Governor Gavin Newsom:

https://in.pcmag.com/robotics-automation/38800/spacex-breaks-ground-on-vandenberg-rocket-launch-site


Online Zed_Noir

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Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #58 on: 08/09/2020 06:49 am »
The NRO and the USSF might funded getting the Falcon Heavy launched from VAFB. Partly to relieve scheduling issues on the East coast and less public access.

Especially since the cost to upgrade SLC-4E to launch Falcon Heavy is relatively cheap in comparison to individual NRO payloads. Maybe even from budget reserves of a single NRO payload. :o


Offline Cheapchips

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Re: SpaceX VAFB facilities
« Reply #59 on: 08/09/2020 10:50 am »
Would that also raise the possibility of a mobile service structure at VAFB too?

(I hope so, purely because I love the atheistic they're going for)

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