SpaceX has received permission to lease Space Launch Complex 6 (SLC-6) for Falcon rocket launches. This is an important addition as the company has a very tight launch schedule.
SpaceX receives permission to lease SLC-6 for Falcon rocket launches
Col. Rob Long, Space Launch Delta 30 commander, signed a statement of support on April 21, 2023. It grants SpaceX permission to lease Space Launch Complex 6 (SLC-6) for Falcon rocket launches. SLC-6 previously supported the Delta IV vehicle family and has remained vacant since the final Delta IV Heavy launch on Sept. 24, 2022.
« 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. « This agreement will add to the rich history of SLC-6 and builds on the already strong partnership with SpaceX. »
Space Launch Delta 30 (SLD 30) is a United States Space Force space launch delta assigned to Space Systems Command and headquartered at Vandenberg Space Force Base, California.
The decision is the result of the launch pad allocation strategy
The decision is the result of SLD 30’s launch pad allocation strategy. It is a process to evaluate the suitability of various launch sites for different types of rockets and payloads. The process is critical to ensuring that launches are safe, and that the selected launch site can accommodate the unique requirements of each mission. This was the first round of launch pad allocations, and additional rounds of allocations will occur in the future after further operational analysis.
SpaceX needs to expand the number of launch sites
SpaceX has a very tight launch schedule. In total, 100 launches were planned for this year. As of April 20, the company has launched 26 rockets in 2023. Of these, 24 are Falcon 9, one Falcon Heavy, and one Starship. At the moment, SpaceX launches every 4.42 days. In order to complete the remaining planned 75 launches, SpaceX needs to launch every 3.3 days. Obviously, weather conditions do not always allow a launch, and a small number of launch sites is a limiting factor.