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Organization honors Vandenberg for space contributions

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- The Honor Guard posts the colors during a ceremony that honored Vandenberg for its past and present space contributions. A plaque was presented to Vandenberg by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.(Air Force Photo/Senior Airman Wesley Carter)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- The Honor Guard posts the colors during a ceremony that honored Vandenberg for its past and present space contributions. A plaque was presented to Vandenberg by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.(Air Force Photo/Senior Airman Wesley Carter)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Bob Dickman and Col. David Buck, the 30th Space Wing commander, unveil a plaque presented to Vandenberg by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics for its contributions to space. (Air Force Photo/Senior Airman Wesley Carter)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Retired Maj. Gen. Bob Dickman and Col. David Buck, the 30th Space Wing commander, unveil a plaque presented to Vandenberg by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics for its contributions to space. (Air Force Photo/Senior Airman Wesley Carter)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Brig. Gen. (Ret.) Sebastian Coglitore and Chief Master Sgt. (Ret.) Bob Kelchner have a photo taken to commemorate the ceremony in which the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics honored Vandenberg for its contributions to space. General Coglitore was the 30th Space Wing's first commander. (Air Force Photo/Senior Airman Wesley Carter)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Retired Brig. Gen. Sebastian Coglitore and retired Chief Master Sgt. Bob Kelchner have a photo taken to commemorate the ceremony in which the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics honored Vandenberg for its contributions to space. General Coglitore was the 30th Space Wing's first commander. (Air Force Photo/Senior Airman Wesley Carter)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Vandenberg was honored as a historic aerospace site at a ceremony March 30 at the Missile-V, here. 

Nine years ago, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics started a program to honor historical sites that have contributed to the space community. Although most of the sites are in the United States, some are as far away Australia, Europe and even the Moon, said Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Bob Dickman, the executive director of the AIAA.

Members of the institute presented Vandenberg Leadership with a plaque with an embossed paragraph mentioning key events in Vandenberg's history.

"Vandenberg and Cape Canaveral were actually selected to be honored in 2006, but, just like the rocket business, sometimes things get pushed back," General Dickman said.

Lt. Gen. Larry James, 14th Air Force and Joint Functional Component Command for Space commander, and Col. David Buck, 30th Space Wing commander spoke about Vandenberg's accomplishment during the past 50 years to include the Corona Project, the multiple weather satellites Vandenberg supports and Vandenberg's contribution to the nations ICBM defense. General Dickman also spoke on the difference between Vandenberg and other historical sites.

Many of the sites honored by the AIAA are no longer participating in the exploration of space. Vandenberg is different.
 
"Vandenberg is not only historical but it is continuing to make history," General Dickman said. "The 30th Space wing has a list of launches scheduled for 2009."

The AIAA works with space communities to advance the arts, sciences and technology of aeronautics and astronautics, and to promote the professionalism of those engaged in the space pursuit, according to the AIAA Web site.

The Vandenberg AIAA section comprises 137 military and civilian space professionals who actively contribute to the advancement of aerospace science, engineering and technological leadership by hosting lectures, coordinating committees, organizing science fairs and providing aerospace engineering scholarships, said 2nd Lt. Michael Hoadley, the AIAA Vandenberg section chair.

"It is exciting to see Vandenberg recognized for its contributions to space, especially from an organization like AIAA," said Brig. Gen. (Ret.) Sebastian Coglitore, Vandenberg's first 30th Space Wing commander.

People interested can view the plaque mounted on the wall behind the Missile-V.