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Vandenberg receives California Space Authority award

LOS ANGELES -- Vandenberg Air Force Base was awarded the National Security Space Award from the California Space Authority Nov. 19 at the SpotBeam Awards ceremony here. 

The award was presented in commemoration of the base's 50th anniversary of operation as an Air Force base. 

"This is a great honor," said Col. David Buck, the 30th Space Wing commander. "Vandenberg has been a key component in the defense of this nation for more than 50 years. Team Vandenberg consistently makes huge strides in the progression of space launch and missile defense. It's a great feeling to be recognized by the space community as Team V continues to reach new milestones." 

Both Vandenberg and the Air Force have played large parts in the space and missile fields since their inceptions. 

"The Air Force is very important to the CSA," said the Honorable Andrea Seastrand, the executive director of the CSA. "The Air Force has been in California for so long and what is being done in California directly affects national security. We (CSA) believe the intellectual capital for space is here in California and helps ensure mission success; and that's the bottom line." 

The SpotBeam Awards dinner provides an opportunity for all segments of the space community to celebrate each other's accomplishments. The CSA honors those who have made unique contributions in their specific areas of expertise. 

"Vandenberg Air Force Base is very important," Mrs. Seastrand said. "I know that the sister launch site on the East Coast (Cape Canaveral) gets a lot of credit because of its manned launches, and people sometimes don't realize the importance of Vandenberg's role in national security. 

"It's celebrating 50 years of service to this nation and we are very pleased to know that more missions are coming to Vandenberg and we see it playing a bigger role in the defense of this nation," she continued. "And we hope in the future that we can have a greater celebration with the public as to what Vandenberg means to not only California and the Central Coast, but to the entire nation." 

Vandenberg's unique ability to send unmanned government and commercial satellites into polar orbit, as well as its continued role in the testing of America's ICBMs, ensures its place among the space community. 

"We strive for 100 percent mission success in everything we do, and Vandenberg's Airmen continue to deliver," Colonel Buck said. "We maintain constant space situational awareness, ensure the reliability of this nation's ICBMs, provide top-notch spacelift operations, validate missile defense capability, and provide direct support to the warfighter."