Space Launch Complex 4 [SLC-4]
Titan Space Launch Complex (SLC-4) used to launch the Titan vehicle has two launch pads. One is designated SLC-4E and the other is SLC-4W. These complexes are approximately 3000 feet apart and are used exclusively by the Air Force to support Department of Defense missions. They are located approximately 5.2 miles from the nearest Vandenberg boundary and ~ 7.8 miles from the city of Lompoc, California. SLC-4W is located on South Vandenberg AFB, approximately 4.0 miles south of the Santa Ynez River and one-half mile east of the Pacific Ocean.
In September 2005 the Air Force announced plans to launch the Falcon I Program from SLC-4W. The Proposed Action consists of performing refurbishments in support of capability to launch from SLC-4W, as well as operating the Falcon I Launch Vehicle Program from SLC-4W. SLC-4W was originally designed with infrastructure to support a larger vehicle than the Falcon I. The propellant systems at SLC-4W were designed for hypergolic fuels and oxidizers that are not compatible with RP-1 and LOX. SpaceX would provide the necessary equipment for RP-1 and LOX use at this site. However, some modifications would need to be made to SLC-4W in order for it to be functional for the Falcon I Launch Vehicle Program.
The launch mount would be modified to accommodate the stool previously residing at SLC-3W. Permanent aboveground piping to facilitate the transfer of propellants from the tankers to the launch vehicle would be installed. The portable deluge water system previously in place at SLC-3W would be transported and connected to the deluge water line at SLC-4W. The ditch leading to the retention basin would be resealed.
The launch pad power configuration would be updated to provide 3-phase 480 voltage AC 100 ampere service on the pad surface. The source would be distributed by connection of a power cable (pigtail) to an equipment trailer located a safe distance from the booster to avoid damage during launches. The equipment trailer would contain necessary mini-substation and power distribution to supply power, as well as the required backup power system. Five equipment racks and five 120 volt 30 ampere circuits would be installed in the Launch Services Building at SLC-4W. Launch pad support systems, such as lighting towers, would be refurbished or replaced if required. The generator/distribution would be repaired or a portable generator would be used to restore emergency lighting. Pad access stairway steps on the south side of SLC-4W launch pad would be repaired and the missing planks would be replaced. SpaceX would install cameras on the existing camera mounts. Other minor rechecks, repairs, or modifications would occur as necessary.
One launch of the Falcon I vehicle was planned for 2005 [but delayed], and two launches are planned for 2006. After that time, up to a maximum of two Falcon I launches per year would be scheduled. On a per-mission basis, launch campaigns are expected to last from four to eight weeks. During a launch campaign, an average of 10 to 12 SpaceX employees would be present at SLC- 4W, with a peak of 25 personnel for about one week.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|