Launch Services

Harris Spaceport Systems at Vandenberg Air Force Base provides a wide variety of cost-conscious solutions for commercial and government launch customers. Our commercial launch facility, designated Space Launch Complex 8 (SLC-8), is located half a mile south of our Integrated Processing Facility. SLC-8 was constructed to provide a clean pad approach that is highly flexible, with the capability to accommodate multiple launch vehicle configurations. SLC-8 has successfully accommodated launch vehicles up to the size of a Delta II, including Minotaur I, Minotaur IV, and Castor 120 class boosters. Currently, SLC-8 is configured to support solid propellant launch vehicles that can be safely launched into a wide array of possible azimuths off the coast of California, from western ballistic trajectories to southern polar orbits.

SLC-8 Features

Launch Mount, Duct, and Mobile Access Tower

The launch mount consists of a launch stand, adaptable for a variety of booster interfaces, and an exhaust duct that is sized for the largest expected vehicle, taking into account all exhaust effects, including acoustics. The provided infrastructure includes a 24-foot x 24-foot launch duct sized to handle up to 1-million-pound thrust vehicles, a frame structure capable of supporting a vehicle weighing 300,000 pounds, scaffold platforms for access to the aft end of the launch vehicle, a launch stand, and umbilical mast tie-downs.

A galvanized steel mobile access tower (MAT) provides access to the vehicle while on the launch mount via five platform levels. The platforms are retracted during stacking operations and movement of the MAT. The MAT is moved between the launch mount and the east stowed location with a large forklift or tug. Harris Spaceport Systems provides certified personnel to operate the MAT doors, platforms, grounding, clean room, HVAC, equipment hoist, handrails, and MAT movement.

Support Infrastructure

A concrete support equipment building is provided to house Harris Spaceport Systems' communications equipment and user-provided launch support equipment. The southwest corner of this building is 128 feet northeast of the launch duct centerline. An additional 12-foot x 24-foot concrete launch equipment vault is available for installation of additional support equipment on the southeast portion of the launch pad.

SLC-8 is serviced by four camera towers and two microwave towers. The camera towers are located on the SLC-8 pad, and the microwave towers are located 0.5 miles south (Cypress Ridge) and 1.75 miles northeast (Honda Ridge). Harris Spaceport Systems installed and maintains the equipment on these towers in support of launch activities occurring at SLC-8.

The communications infrastructure installed between SLC-8 and both the launch control room and the Vandenberg Air Force Base Western Range is engineered to provide maximum flexibility and with an eye towards future needs.