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Delta IV Heavy rocket parts arrive at Vandenberg AFB

Vandenberg Delta Rocket
Photo: U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Aubree Owens
Delta IV Heavy rocket parts delivered to Vandenberg

VANDENBERG, Calif. - Vandenberg Air Force Base is preparing for another rocket launch set for later this year.

Critical pieces of a Delta IV Heavy rocket arrived at Vandenberg on April 5, 2020. The United Launch Alliance barge, known as the RocketShip, delivered booster cores, second stage and payload faring to the base for the next stage of the mission.

Photo: U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Aubree Owens

“We have been anticipating and planning this operation in coordination with ULA for several months,” said 1st Lt. Jasmine Toye, 2nd Space Launch Squadron mission integration manager. “No matter the circumstances, we have one job: perform the mission. Now is no different.”

As most of the country shuts down to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, Vandenberg said it's taking safety precautions to deal with the virus yet pushing forward with its ongoing mission to ensure space superiority through assured access to space.

“We are continuing to work with our launch partners to ensure the Western Range remains postured to launch,” said Col. Anthony Mastalir, 30th Space Wing commander. “COVID-19 may be the threat at the forefront of everyone’s mind, and we are certainly taking all the necessary precautions to address that threat, but make no mistake, our national security still depends on our ability to launch rockets.”

Photo: U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Aubree Owens

The Delta IV Heavy rocket parts were taken to ULA’s Horizontal Integration Facility, where they will be configured for the next several months before being erected into Space Launch Complex-6 for final integration and launch.

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C.J. Ward

C.J. Ward is the evening anchor for KEYT NewsChannel 3 and the station’s lead investigative reporter.