WASHINGTON — Despite the successful demonstration of a launch to polar orbit from Cape Canaveral, the U.S. Space Force doesn’t foresee shifting launches to those orbits there from Vandenberg Air Force Base.
At a Sept. 14 meeting of the Federal Aviation Administration’s Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee (COMSTAC), Maj. Gen. DeAnna Burt, director of operations and communications for the U.S. Space Force, congratulated SpaceX for the first polar launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida, in more than a half-century.
That Aug. 30 launch used a Falcon 9, flying south just off the Florida coast, to place into polar orbit SAOCOM 1B, a radar imaging satellite for Argentina. “It highlights the cooperation with the United States Space Force, our ranges, the FAA and the launch industry,” she said. “This launch was successful without changing any safety criteria.”
The launch raised questions about whether more polar launches, by the Falcon 9 or other vehicles, could take place from Cape Canaveral. That would potentially move missions from Vandenberg, the California site that has traditionally hosted launches to polar orbits.
Burt said the Space Force didn’t anticipate shifting launches, as well as launch infrastructure investments, from Vandenberg to the Cape. “We don’t expect any changes ...