Airmen of the 30th Space Wing and their industry partners on Thursday successfully launched a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket into space from Vandenberg AFB, Calif. This was the first-ever West Coast launch of the Delta IV Heavy. The 235-foot-tall launch vehicle, the largest ever fired from the US West Coast, carried a classified US intelligence satellite aloft. “I’m very proud to be part of the team who worked so hard to make this mission a success,” said Col. Keith Balts, 30th SW vice commander and launch decision authority. The rocket produced two million pounds of thrust. (Vandenberg release) (See also Vandenberg Preps for Delta IV Heavy Launch)
The Air Force will begin its 71st annual Operation Christmas Drop on Dec. 4. The weeklong exercise is a yearly tradition that delivers supplies such as food, fishing equipment, school books, and clothes to remote islands in the Pacific. It is the longest-running Department of Defense humanitarian mission.