Preparing Vandy for X-37

The 30th Space Wing at Vandenberg AFB, Calif., earlier this month quickly completed refurbishment of the runway at the California facility in case the experimental X-37 must make an emergency landing there. USAF late last month launched the first X-37 orbital test vehicle, an unmanned, reusable space test platform. Lt. Col. Troy Giese, the X-37B systems program director, said the “experimental nature of the X-37B necessitated the urgency of the modifications in case of an unscheduled landing.” The Vandenberg team replaced 658 plates along the centerline to level the airstrip. Vandy personnel designed, fabricated, and installed the plates. “The sheer number of plates and the time constraints were also huge factors,” said Dell Barritt, director of Vandenberg’s Training Device Design and Engineering Center. (30th SW report by SrA. Steve Bauer)