Teamwork brings VAFB range online in time for next launch

An Atlas V rocket carrying a WorldView-4 satellite rests on the launch pad, Sept. 16, 2016, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. A recent wildland fire on South Vandenberg delayed the launch, which is now scheduled to be launched from Space Launch Complex-3, Friday, Nov. 11 at 10:30 a.m. Pacific Standard Time. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Shane Phipps/Released)

An Atlas V rocket carrying a WorldView-4 satellite rests on the launch pad, Sept. 16, 2016, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. A recent wildland fire on South Vandenberg delayed the launch, which is now scheduled to be launched from Space Launch Complex-3, Friday, Nov. 11 at 10:30 a.m. Pacific Standard Time. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Shane Phipps/Released)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --

Thanks to concentrated efforts from Team V and community partners, the Vandenberg range is once again “green” – or ready for launch.

Getting the range operational again was no easy task, as a recent wildland fire on South Vandenberg threatened both base personnel and an upcoming mission.

“The fire caused many power outages on South Vandenberg, reducing redundancy and threatening the health and safety of an $800 million commercial mission,” said Capt. Sean Kelly, 4th Space Launch Squadron system infrastructure and facilities engineering chief. “To mitigate power losses, members of the 30th Civil Engineer Squadron brought up the South Vandenberg Power Plant as they washed and repaired several sections of power lines. Furthermore, many range assets were affected by power outages or by fire retardant and had to be assessed, repaired and tested.”

Despite the potentially catastrophic scenario, Vandenberg personnel persevered and succeeded in their recovery efforts.

“A team of stakeholders from across the base formed the Recovery Working Group, which prioritized recovery efforts and developed the recovery plan to get through the next several scheduled launches,” said Capt. Gerardo Lopez, 4th SLS launch mission manager.

Once the plan was developed, several units joined forces to clean up the mess left behind by the fire, and once again begin preparations for an upcoming launch.

“The 30th Mission Support Group, Operations Group, Launch Group, and many other units across the base have been working hard since the fire to get their systems back to a launch configuration,” said Kelly. “Power lines had to be washed by the 30th CES, fiber paths had to be repaired or replaced by the 30th Space Communications Squadron, and we, the 30th LCG, assessed the launch facilities and associated launch infrastructure, ensuring a safe and stable power and environmental condition for satellites and the Atlas V booster.”

All of the hard work and communication from Team V personnel paid off, as their efforts culminated in bringing Vandenberg’s range back online. Team Vandenberg is scheduled to launch the WorldView-4 satellite on an Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex-3, here, Friday, Nov. 11, with a launch window opening at 10:30 a.m. Pacific Standard Time.

“Team Vandenberg really came together during and after the fire,” said Kelly. “Members from all over the base helped the firefighters during the fire and helped clean up the mess. After the fires subsided, each unit has worked tirelessly to get back to normal operations. The Recovery Working Group has members from all around the base and has demonstrated how important clear communication and teamwork is.”