092622 Delta IV launch 4.jpg

United Launch Alliance's final Delta IV Heavy rocket readies for launch from Space Launch Complex (SLC)-6 at Vandenberg Space Force Base on Sept. 24, 2022. The launchpad will now serve future SpaceX missions.

Vandenberg's Space Launch Complex 6 — known as "Slick Six" — welcomes newest occupant SpaceX, after the agency was granted permission to lease a second launch pad for future Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rocket missions.

The southernly SLC-6 pad, which supported the Delta IV vehicle family for 16 years and has remained vacant since the final Delta IV Heavy launch on Sept. 24, 2022, was originally developed for Titan III rockets and the Manned Orbiting Laboratory reconnaissance space station in the 1960s before the program's cancellation.

"This is an exciting time for Vandenberg Space Force Base, our nation’s premier West Coast launch site for military, civil and commercial space operations," said Col. Rob Long, SLD 30 commander, who on April 21 signed a statement of support for the new leasee. "This agreement will add to the rich history of SLC-6 and builds on the already strong partnership with SpaceX."

Lisa André covers lifestyle and local news for Santa Ynez Valley News and Lompoc Record, editions of the Santa Maria Times.

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