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SpaceX leases second launchpad at Vandenberg

SpaceX announced yesterday that it has leased a second launchpad at Vandenberg, taking over the pad that ULA previously leased for use by its Delta family of rockets, now being phased out.

The site will be used to launch “Falcon rockets”, which suggests both the Falcon 9 and the Falcon Heavy. All told, SpaceX now has six launchsites, three at Cape Canaveral, two at Vandenberg, and one at Boca Chica, with the Starship/Superheavy site at Kennedy presently under construction.

The launchpad at Vandenberg, dubbed SLC-6 (pronounced “slick-6”), was originally built to launch the space shuttle, something that never happened. When I got a tour of Vandenberg in 2015 I took some good pictures of it.

It is very likely SpaceX will make major changes, as it did to the shuttle launchsite it took over at Kennedy.

Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

The ebook is available everywhere for $5.99 (before discount) at amazon, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit. If you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and the author gets a bigger cut much sooner.

The audiobook is also available at all these vendors, and is also free with a 30-day trial membership to Audible.

"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs."--San Antonio Express-News


  • Jay

    So my source down at Vandy was not surprised by this since ULA abandoned SLC-6. The Space Force personnel down there had to secure and cleanup that location. They were not happy with ULA.

  • Jay: I had heard somewhere previously that Blue Origin was also vying for the lease for SLC-6. Apparently, the Space Force decided to give it to SpaceX instead because it wants actual launches to occur there, and no one expects that much from Blue Origin at this point.

  • Diane E Wilson

    What is the third launch site in Florida? There’s 39A and 40. 13 doesn’t count, because it’s only been used for landings, and they have to give that one up. I don’t think we can count the Starship pad at 39A, either, since it’s not close to finished.

  • Jay

    Hi Diane,
    They had to give up 13? Yes, you are correct, it is a landing area. Did they lose the lease? That is new to me.

  • Jay: Yes, the Space Force has transferred the lease for the landing sites from SpaceX to two of four rocket startups. See:

    Space Force assigns launchpads to four smallsat rocket startups

    What I failed to make clear in that post (mostly because it wasn’t initially confirmed) was that the new leases took from SpaceX its landing sites.

    Diane: As for the third SpaceX launchpad at Kennedy, I am counting the Starship/Superheavy pad. It might not be ready now, but it is being built, and I expect work to accelerate fast considering the regulatory issues that might block flights from Boca Chica for awhile.

  • pawn

    Oh god, SLC-6 and the Shuttle. What a boondoggle that was.

    Cost billions of dollars to satisfy the USAF and nothing happened other than a booster stacking as I recall.

    Just as well as there was a lot of concern about H2 build up the the tunnel if there was an on pad abort.

    Completely abandoned.

  • Jeff Wright

    Delta IV was said to have broken the curse…but just in case…hey Bezos! Hudson and CNBC’s Cramer are bullish on it. Run Elon! RUN! Let New Glenn turn into a pillar of salt…the Heckawi dead demand it be a casino. Ramtha has spoken.

  • M Puckett

    I thought SLC-6 was originally built for Titan-MOL and converted to the Shuttle?

  • Star Bird

    How much is China getting from this whole thing?

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