Space Shuttle:

The Future of the Vandenberg Launch Site Needs to Be Determined

NSIAD-88-158: Published: Aug 3, 1988. Publicly Released: Aug 3, 1988.

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Harry R. Finley
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GAO examined the Air Force's deactivation efforts for the space shuttle's Vandenberg Launch Site (VLS) and its plans for maintaining and reactivating the site.

GAO found that the Air Force: (1) planned to complete the few remaining VLS deactivation tasks during fiscal years 1988 and 1989; (2) placed VLS in a low-maintenance status due to limited funding and the lack of a shuttle launch schedule; and (3) did no detailed reactivation planning. GAO also found that: (1) reactivation costs would increase each year VLS remained nonoperational; (2) reactivation had high schedule and technical risks; and (3) the Air Force and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration were considering using VLS for other launch systems, since the shuttle's lift capability from VLS was below the required level.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: Action is contingent on an unlikely event, the preservation of VLS for shuttle use, which, if it were to occur, would not be decided in the near term.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Air Force to develop a cost-effective reactivation schedule if VLS is to be preserved for shuttle use.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense


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