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Space Launch Complex 6, Vandenberg Air Force Base

Aspen Environmental Group prepared an Environmental Baseline Report and Physical Conditions Report after investigating the condition of a launch facility at Vandenberg Air Force Base that The Boeing Company proposed to use to launch satellite payloads with the Delta IV Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle. Space Launch Complex 6 (SLC-6) was originally constructed for the Air Force’s Manned Orbiting Laboratory (MOL) project in the late 1960s. The MOL was canceled as the facility neared completion and SLC-6 was placed in caretaker status. In 1980, work began to convert SLC-6 into the west coast launch site for NASA’s space shuttle. However, in 1986, Congress and the military agreed that expendable launch vehicles could provide the same capability as the space shuttle at a much lower cost, and plans for west coast launches of the shuttle were canceled. SLC-6 was placed in operational caretaker status until 1988 when the facility was reduced to minimum caretaker status. The Air Force completely abandoned SLC-6 in 1991. The first ever launch at SLC-6 was conducted in November 1994 when the Lockheed Corporation leased the facility to place a commercial communication satellite into orbit.

Aspen led a team that investigated physical and environmental conditions at SLC-6 prior to Boeing entering into a lease agreement with the Air Force for commercial launches at the facility. All facilities subject to the lease agreement were inspected to document their physical conditions and to identify potential environmental contamination problems. Building plans and base records were reviewed to further document potential problem areas. A Physical Conditions Report was prepared to characterize the condition of the various facilities, including structural, electrical, heating/ventilation, and plumbing systems. Recommendations were made for repair, abatement, demolition, and replacement of facilities. An Environmental Baseline Report was prepared which identified known past use or storage of hazardous substances at the facility and suspected areas of contamination based on physical evidence and base records. The Environmental Baseline Report included recommendations for sampling of suspect areas prior to execution of the lease agreement.

Project type: Launch Facilities

Practice areas: Industrial

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