Vandenberg Space Force Base

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Vandenberg Space Force Base (1941-Active) - A U.S. Space Force Base first established in 1941 as U.S. Army Camp Cooke (1) near Lompoc, Santa Barbara County, California, Named after Major General Phillip St. George Cooke. Renamed and repurposed as Cooke Air Force Base in 1957. Renamed Vandenberg Air Force Base in 1949 after General Hoyt Vandenberg, the Air Force's second Chief of Staff. In 2021, after the creation of the U.S. Space Force on 20 Dec 2019, it was renamed Vandenberg Space Force Base. Now active Space Force Base.

Vandenberg Name Chronology
Name From To
Camp Cooke 5 Oct 1941 1953
Cooke Air Force Base Jun 1957 4 Oct 1958
Vandenberg Air Force Base 4 Oct 1958 14 May 2021
Vandenberg Space Force Base 14 May 2021 Active


In March 1941, the U.S. Army acquired approximately 86,000 acres of open ranch lands along the Central Coast of California between Lompoc and Santa Maria. Most of the land was purchased but some smaller parcels were leased, licensed, or acquired as easements. Construction of the Army camp began in September 1941 and the Army activated the camp on 5 Oct 1941. Camp Cooke was used for Army tanks, infantry, and artillery training during World War II, and again during the Korean War. See the separate article for Camp Cooke.

In 1957, the installation property was transferred to the U.S. Air Force and was soon transformed into the nation’s West Coast space and missile facility that is now Vandenberg SFB. The unique geographic location of Vandenberg makes this major range and test facility base a safe and ideal setting to test land-based strategic deterrent assets and to safely place satellite payloads into polar earth orbit.

On 7 Jun 1957, Camp Cooke was renamed Cooke Air Force Base. On 4 Oct 1958, Cooke AFB was redesignated Vandenberg AFB.

The first missile launch from Vandenberg AFB was a Thor Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile launched on 16 Dec 1958 from Space Launch Complex-2 East. On 28 Feb 1959, the first two-stage Thor/Agena missile lifted the world’s first polar earth-orbiting satellite, the Discoverer 1 from Space Launch Complex-1 West. Soon after, the first Atlas missile was launched from Vandenberg AFB on 9 Sep 1959 at launch facility 576 A-2. The first Global Positioning Satellite launched from Space Launch Complex-3E on 22 Feb 1978.

The world’s first commercial spaceport became operational at Vandenberg on 19 Sep 1996 at Space Launch Complex-8. On 14 May 2021, Vandenberg Air Force Base was renamed {Vandenberg Space Force Base. Four months later, LANDSAT 9 launched on 27 Sep 2021 from Space Launch Complex 3E, making it the 2,000th launch from Vandenberg. Significant launch programs that have occurred from Vandenberg since 1958 include the Nike, Scout, Peacekeeper, Atlas, Minotaur, Titan, Thor, Thor/Agena, Thrust Augmented Thor, Thor/Delta, BOMARC, Delta II, Delta IV, Minuteman, Pegasus, Scout, and Falcon 9.

Current Status


Location: Near Lompoc, Santa Barbara County, California.

Maps & Images

Lat: 34.732778 Long: -120.568056

  • Multi Maps from ACME
  • Maps from Bing
  • Maps from Google
  • Elevation: 1,536'

GPS Locations:

See Also:



Fortification ID:

  • CA0888 - Vandenberg Space Force Base
  • CA0246 - Camp Cooke (1)
  • CA0491 - Cooke Air Force Base
  • CA0873 - Vandenberg Air Force Base

Visited: 26 May 2012, 2 Dec 2013

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