Polar From The Cape

A few weeks ago, the commander of Vandenberg said that he was facing competition from Florida. I didn’t understand what he was talking about, but apparently, they’ve found a southerly corridor that will allow them to get to high inclination from the Cape.

Also, though no one is talking about this yet, reusable first stages will probably allow inland spaceports with a high range of azimuths at some point.

5 thoughts on “Polar From The Cape”

  1. It’s worth pointing out that polar missions have been flown from the Cape in the past. The Tiros 9 and 10 and ESSA 1 and 2 weather satellites were launched into polar orbits from the Cape in the 1960s, before Delta pads were constructed at Vandenberg.

    1. The NASA program manager for Delta was Bill Schindler, who was a colleague of mine at TRW. Along with John Thole, we set up the TRW Launch Services Organization (long story, sad ending). Bill used to reminisce about Delta. One of his stories was about how he launched it polar from the Cape. I asked how he did it, and he replied “We just had it fly out a little way, then pull a hard right turn.”

      I said, “No, no, Bill – you flew over Cuba. How did you ever get permission to do that.” His reply was classic Schindler: “I didn’t. They never would have given it to me, so I figured the easiest thing was to just go and hope no one noticed.”

  2. The article mentioned opposition to business expansion by local and state groups in California. That’s hardly surprising. I imagine the threatened (or did it get passed?) launch tax is another impetus to switch to Florida.

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