Action at Vandenberg

The 30th Space Wing at Vandenberg AFB, Calif., successfully launched a Delta II expendable launch vehicle, boosting a Thales Alenia-Space Cosmo-SkyMed 2 satellite into orbit on Dec. 10. It was the second SkyMed sat launched from Vandenberg this year. In other news, the western launch base is taking new heat for its yearlong closure of the road to Point Sal State Beach. The move has frustrated hikers, more so lately as base security forces have issued citations for trespassing to at least 15 hikers since January, reports the Los Angeles Times. Base officials cite security concerns and the fact that hikers often disregard notices about imminent launches, putting their safety in jeopardy.