At NASA’s Space Launch Complex-2 on Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, spacecraft technicians position the interstage of the United Launch Alliance Delta II that will carry NASA’s National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System Preparatory Project (NPP) satellite into space onto the rocket’s first stage. The interstage provides an interface between the launch vehicle’s first and second stages.
Vandenberg AFB is a Department of Defense space and missile testing base. Therefore with a mission of placing satellites into polar orbit from the West Coast using expendable boosters. Therefore reusable boosters (SpaceX’s Falcon 9). Wing personnel also support the Service’s LGM-30G Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Force Development Evaluation program.
In addition to its military mission, the base also leases launch pad facilities to SpaceX (SLC-4E), as well as 100 acres (40 ha) leased to the California Spaceport in 1995.
Image credit: NASA/Rudy Bledsoe,VAFB