Seeking Planned Communities

The Air Force’s space-launch infrastructure requires modernization, said Gen. William Shelton, head of Air Force Space Command. The facilities at Cape Canaveral AFS, Fla., and Vandenberg AFB, Calif., are already a half-century old, plus the two locations aren’t standardized, said Shelton in his keynote address at the 50th American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics aerospace sciences meeting in Nashville, Tenn. “It’s a problem akin to the late 19th century when every railroad had their proprietary rail sizes and rail spacings,” he said. “Once they standardized the gauges, all of them realized more efficient operations, lower costs, and greater profits.” Shelton said his vision for the space ranges is that “they become planned communities instead of the hodgepodge of one-off capabilities and specialty facilities they are now.” He noted during his Monday speech that the Air Force is working “toward an intra-range standardization solution” that would combine space-range operations, maintenance, and sustainment into a single integrated contract. (Peterson report by Capt. Chris Sukach)