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Vandenberg activates Area Control Center

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- The 30th Space Wing activated the first major center in the new Western Range Operations Control Center Dec 15.

The WROCC will be used for command and control of all Vandenberg launches and to oversee the Western Range, an area that encompasses the West Coast of the Continental United States and extends more than 4,200 miles across the Pacific Ocean.

The Area Control Center supports both aeronautical operations in the West Coast Offshore Operating Area, and provides air, land, and sea clearance for launch operations.

The transition to the new ACC was accomplished seamlessly, ensuring all customers’ requirements were fully supported. Proving this point, concurrent with activation, 2nd Range Operations Squadron Aerospace Operations Control Officer, Senior Airman Jillian Voyles was on console working with Edwards AFB, Calif., on specifics for a vital F-22 Combined Test Force test flight to evaluate engine performance and acoustical properties.

“I am extremely excited to be given the opportunity to command and control the first operation out of the new ACC,” Senior Airman Voyles said. “The best part, we had minimal changes in our procedures making the transition very easy for operators.”

The activation of the ACC was the first of what will be several activation ceremonies as the new WROCC comes online.

“This is an exciting day for the 30 Space Wing and the Western Range,” said Col. Jay Raymond, 30th Operations Group commander. “Our biggest priority has been modernizing the range and activating the new WROCC—this is an important first step. Safety is always one of our highest priorities during any launch, and the ACC ensures all areas that could be impacted by the launch are cleared of aircraft, boats, and trains so that launches can be accomplished safely.”

Several other elements of the WROCC are scheduled to open in 2006, including the command management center, the range control center, and the mission rooms, each slated to be fully operational in June. 

The final WROCC activation is scheduled for fall of 2007, after the activations of the weather and the mission flight control centers.

The relocation effort for the ACC was accelerated six months to take advantage of the Range Sustainment Period, a time during which no launches were scheduled to allow for routine maintenance on the range. 

“The 30th Space Wing mission is to launch rockets and perform range operations,” said Col. Jack Weinstein, 30th Space Wing commander. “Everyone on this team plays a key part in that mission. The new WROCC will give us greater capability to accomplish that core Vandenberg mission that is so important for our nation. We have a great partnership with the Space and Missile System Center’s Space Launch and Range Systems Program Office, and our close coordination was instrumental in accelerating this activation.”

Vandenberg Air Force Base commanded and controlled 54 F-22 missions and nine major launch operations in 2005.