Michael Stonecypher

The United States military launched a ballistic missile Thursday morning from Vandenberg Air Force Base in Lompoc. It’s the second U.S. test of a missile type banned under a Soviet-era treaty President Trump withdrew from earlier this year.

Pixabay image

Thousands of small objects are currently orbiting Earth, and while some are working satellites, a lot are junk. Cal Poly state university in San Luis Obispo has joined forces with the U.S. Department of Defense to monitor all the space debris—and come up with some ways to reduce it.

Dave Minsky/KCBX News

The United States Armed Forces just created the first Combined Space Operations Center. For short, it’s called CSpOC (think “See Spock”). It’s a partnership to improve coordination with Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom. Other U.S. allies like Germany are also involved, as are some private entities. CSpOC, located at Vandenberg Air Force Base near Lompoc, California, is now America's official international militarized space command center. Staff at the facility will keep an eye on about 23,000 objects in the sky.

Tyler Pratt/KCBX

NASA successfully launched a spacecraft to Mars from Vandenberg Air Force base on Saturday. It was the first ever interplanetary launch from the West Coast, and if all goes according to plan, just before Thanksgiving the Insight mission will land on Mars and begin drilling down into the surface. The mission's goal? To learn more about how rocky planets form.

Unarmed missile to launch from Vandenberg

Aug 1, 2017
Staff Sgt. Jim Araos

UPDATE 8/2/17 9:26 a.m.: The missile launched at 2:10 a.m., said the 30th Space Wing Public Affairs office. To watch the video, click here.

The U.S. military is planning a missile launch this week from the Central Coast's Vandenberg Air Force Base. 

NWS Los Angeles Oxnard

UPDATE: Thursday, 12:38 p.m.

Vandenberg Air Force Base announced late Thursday morning that its beaches would resume normal operations because "the Tsunami Advisory has been terminated."

The National Weather Service tweeted at 12:40 p.m. that the "tsunami advisory for SW California has been canceled. No impacts or damages reported with this event."


The National Tsunami Warning Center issued a Tsunami Advisory on Thursday morning, following an 8.3 magnitude earthquake that hit on Wednesday afternoon off the coast of Chile.

United Launch Alliance video still

Lompoc City Council members are expected to vote Tuesday, May 19, on a proposed multi-million dollar space center near Vandenberg Air Force Base. Vandenberg sits adjacent to the City of Lompoc. If approved and completed, the facility could dramatically alter Lompoc's future.

The city council is set to vote on whether to enter into an exclusive negotiating agreement with the California Space Consortium. The consortium hopes to build a space center there that would include a museum, hotel, restaurant and a viewing area for rocket launches.

Flickr member Sharon Hahn Darlin

The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to hear a free speech case brought by longtime Vandenberg Air Force Base protester Dennis Apel.

The Court issued a short statement this week, simply saying:

Dear Mr. Chemerinsky:

The Court today entered the following order in the above-entitled case:

The petition for a writ of certiorari is denied.

Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean of the UC Irvine School of Law and Apel's attorney for several years, says the denial to take the case now leaves legal questions regarding free speech rights.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA's new Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) satellite, launched from Vandenberg on January 31, 2015, has already sent back its first global maps.

The satellite focuses on soil moisture—liquid or solid—and will likely help develop more accurate long-term forecasts. The images could also help California track the state's ongoing drought conditions.

The SMAP mission is designed to help scientists understand the links between the Earth's water, energy and carbon cycles.

Jay Thompson, Cal Poly

The launch of a soil moisture monitoring satellite from Vandenberg Air Force Base was in a 24-hour delay cycle on Thursday afternoon because of a problem with upper level winds Thursday morning.

The SMAP satellite (Soil Moisture Active Passive) is now scheduled to launch Friday morning at 6:20.

Three other nano-satellites—or CubeSats—are also onboard the Delta II rocket sitting on the Vandenberg launchpad, and they're what scientists and students from Cal Poly will be watching.


Scientists are looking forward to using a new satellite that will help them track California's ongoing drought and create more accurate and longer-term forecasts.

It's known as SMAP (Soil Moisture Active Passive) and is scheduled to launch at Vandenberg Air Force Base Thursday morning at 6:20 a.m.

It's main purpose is to observe the entire surface of the Earth with a focus on soil moisture and the world's freeze and thaw zones.


An Atlas V rocket—unlike any other launched on the West Coast—is scheduled for lift-off this Thursday at Vandenberg Air Force Base.

It's called an Atlas V 541, and it's the same type of rocket used to launch the Mars rover Curiosity back in 2011.

The rocket is larger than the most recent Atlas V to launch at Vandenberg because it has booster rockets.

Thursday's mission, named NROL-35, is in cooperation with the National Reconnaissance Office and is highly secretive.

30th Space Wing at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.

UPDATE: Friday, October 17, 2014:

The X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle mission 3 (OTV-3), the Air Force's unmanned, reusable space plane, landed Friday morning at Vandenberg Air Force Base.

The military said it touched own at 9:24 a.m.

Video still: 30th Space Wing, Vandenberg AFB

UPDATE: September 23, 2014 at 9:08 a.m.

An unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) was launched during an operational test at 7:45 a.m. from Vandenberg Air Force Base on Tuesday.

"An outstanding display of teamwork ensured 100-percent mission success for the first Minuteman launch of the year here at Vandenberg," said Col. Keith Balts, 30th Space Wing commander. He was the launch decision authority. "We constantly focus on flawless execution of our launch, range and expeditionary missions."


United Launch Alliance video still

UPDATE: August 13, 2014 at 2:51 p.m.  

Another successful launch for the team at Vandenberg Air Force Base on Wednesday morning at 11:30 a.m. PDT.

The Atlas V rocket carried the WorldView 3 satellite into orbit without a hitch. It's designed to take ultra clear photos of the earth to be used by a wide array of commercial sources, Google and Microsoft maps among them.

Original Story:

Scientists at Vandenberg Air Force Base are preparing for Wednesday's launch of an Atlas V rocket.

Flickr member Sharon Hahn Darlin

UPDATE: Thursday, August 7, 2014 at 4:48 p.m.

Vandenberg Air Force Base officials posted Thursday afternoon that the "Boil Water Notice" has been canceled. Officials say the supply has been certified as safe for consumption, so normal use is approved.

UPDATE: Wednesday, August 6, 2014 at 5:59 p.m.

Vandenberg Air Force Base officials say Tuesday's water main break was the result of construction, and water service was restored in approximately 12 hours.

Video still from NASA

UPDATE: Tuesday, July 2, 2014 at 7:36 a.m. 

A NASA satellite that will study Earth's carbon dioxide levels and their relationship to climate change was launched into space early Wednesday morning onboard a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket at Vandenberg Air Force Base.

The Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) is the second of NASA's five Earth science missions to launch this year. It's the organization's first mission dedicated to studying atmospheric carbon dioxide, the leading human- produced greenhouse gas.

U.S. Air Force photo/Michael Peterson

Santa Barbara County's Surf Beach will be closed from June 27 to Sept. 30 because the maximum number of violations tolerated to protect the nests of the federally-listed Snowy Plover was exceeded.

Beach restrictions are enforced yearly on Wall, Minuteman and Surf beaches during the snowy plover's nesting season. If a pre-determined number of violations are detected, the beaches are closed for the remainder of the nesting season.

This week there were 11 violations reported, putting the number at Surf Beach more than 50, the pre-determined limit.

Atlas V launch scheduled at Vandenberg AFB

Mar 24, 2014
NASA Goddard Photo and Video

An Atlas V rocket  is scheduled for a launch pad at Vandenberg Air Force Base on Thursday, April 3. The window for launch opens at 7:46 a.m.

The rocket's payload includes a satellite for the Air Force Defense Meteorological Satellite Program. It was built by Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman. United Launch Alliance builds and flies the rocket.

Col. Keith Balts, 30th Space Wing commander will be in charge of the launch decision.

Arrests made during Vandenberg AFB peace rally

Mar 14, 2014
Brad Wormdal, Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space

A couple of arrests were made Friday afternoon at an international peace vigil being held at the entrance to Vandenberg Air Force Base.

Longtime Central Coast peace activist Dennis Apel and Salinas-based peace activist MacGreggor Eddy were the two people taken into custody by military police, according to event organizer Bruce Gagnon with the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space.