Airmen and contractors at Vandenberg AFB, Calif., are preparing for the West Coast Launch Facility’s first launch of an Atlas V evolved expendable launch vehicle. It is scheduled for lift-off on Feb. 26. The Vandenberg space team already has launched an EELV, in fact two of them. The facility launched two Delta IV boosters in 2006 out of Space Launch Complex-6. The Atlas V will use SLC-3, which has undergone a $300 million refurbishment by United Launch Alliance to accommodate the larger booster. (30th Space Wing report by 2nd Lt. Raymond Geoffroy.)
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.