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Military base on Coast Starlight route?

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mcropod

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I've been trying to find out which is the military (likely air force) base I rode alongside on #14 in California as I made my way north from LAX a wee while ago in the pre-plague era.

I've struck out.

From my vantage point in the SSC, there were heaps of spurs going into and coming out of the area which, from memory, was in an early part of my trip to SAC. I think we were a bit above sea level by then, rather than rolling alongside the shore as before, and the area was to the east of the line.

It wasn't clear to me whether this was still an active military area, or whether it was a WWII remnant, but I had the impression that it was the latter by the look of the bits of infrastructure I could spot. It seemed to take us a while to pass it.

Does anyone recognise the bit of the line I'm describing and can put me to rights, please? I've had a look at a few maps and military base sites with the help of our good friends at google, but I remain clueless.
 

Seaboard92

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That's Vandenburg Air Force Base. I believe they have landed the space shuttles there in the past back during the shuttle program.
 

leemell

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Vandenberg SFB. The shuttle was supposed to launch from there on occasion, but never did. Never landed there. It is the primary launch site for polar orbiting satellites. It is in Lompoc between Santa Barbara and san Lan Luis Obispo right on the coast.
.
 
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Bob Dylan

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Theres also Camp Robert's on the Starlight Route close to San Luis Obispo.

It's used by the California National Guard as a Training Bsse.

It was built by the Army in WWII as a Training Base,and when the Army gave it up the Navy used it as a Gunnery Range till 1971.
 

niemi24s

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One of the most visible things to the public is the occasional test launch of an unarmed Minuteman Missile from Vandenberg. This shows a launch around midnight... https://www.sanluisobispo.com/news/local/article246782687.html ...but I found the daytime launches down the Pacific test range equally spectacular.

The first part of that video shows the 110 ton solid concrete blast door retracting to uncover the launch tube. The ballistic gas generators shown in this... Minuteman Missile Launcher Closure Door ...are not used for test launches as they would (IIRC) hurl the massive door off the end of its tracks.
 

mcropod

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Excellent - many thanks!

I'll do some satellite photo hunting and check it out.
 

railiner

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Vandenburg SFB. The shuttle was supposed to launch from there on occasion, but never did. Never landed there. It is the primary launch site for polar orbiting satellites. It is in Lompoc between Santa Barbara and san Lan Luis Obispo right on the coast.
.
I believe the Shuttle used Edwards AFB for some landings, and then was ferried back to Cape Canaveral atop one of two modified B-747's owned by NASA...
 

PVD

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Actually, the alternate landings in California were at Edwards, it had the really long runway set up for it, as well as the dry lake bed and one "dry lake" landing at White Sands... VBerg never got used because they cancelled it as a launch site. Everything else went to Florida. 78 to Florida, 1 to WS, 5 Approach and Landing Tests and 54 operational to Edwards, The 747 was remarkable.
 

Wolverine72

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The return flight path to Florida was right over Longboat Key on the gulf side. First time it broke back through the sound barrier passing over the condo I thought the building next door blew up! Man, the ground shook greater than any earthquake I’ve felt.
 

railiner

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Actually, the alternate landings in California were at Edwards, it had the really long runway set up for it, as well as the dry lake bed and one "dry lake" landing at White Sands... VBerg never got used because they cancelled it as a launch site. Everything else went to Florida. 78 to Florida, 1 to WS, 5 Approach and Landing Tests and 54 operational to Edwards, The 747 was remarkable.
It sure was...

 

PVD

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I've been to KSC and seen the Vehicle Assembly Building and the giant crawler that moved the shuttles over to launch. I'd love to see the display of the 747 in Houston. I'd like to see the display on the Intrepid, the Enterprise, which was the flying prototype, it test flew for landings but not into outer space. It did come to JFK from Washington on the 747, and then "up the river" on a barge...
 

PVD

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Well, there will be a large number of used airframes that would be available to be modified. Many of the 400's are soldiering on as freighters already.
 

tricia

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The return flight path to Florida was right over Longboat Key on the gulf side. First time it broke back through the sound barrier passing over the condo I thought the building next door blew up! Man, the ground shook greater than any earthquake I’ve felt.
Yep, that's one heckuva noise.

A story that has nothing at all to do with Amtrak: Years ago, I was visiting Monhegan Island, an hour by boat off the mid-coast of Maine, sitting on a rock looking across the water to the hazy mainland far, far away. A dot appeared in the sky, heading my way, then amazingly quick it passed overhead and KABOOM! This was during the presidency of GHW Bush, a former fighter pilot whose summer home was on the Maine coast. Apparently POTUS was out on a joy ride.
 

me_little_me

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Actually, the alternate landings in California were at Edwards, it had the really long runway set up for it, as well as the dry lake bed and one "dry lake" landing at White Sands... VBerg never got used because they cancelled it as a launch site. Everything else went to Florida. 78 to Florida, 1 to WS, 5 Approach and Landing Tests and 54 operational to Edwards, The 747 was remarkable.
I had tickets to the White Sands Missile Range landing in the early '80s. It was coming in on a Sunday, I believe but it was delayed and I had to work that day so I missed it. :( I still have the original tickets!
 
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John Santos

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Actually, the alternate landings in California were at Edwards, it had the really long runway set up for it, as well as the dry lake bed and one "dry lake" landing at White Sands... VBerg never got used because they cancelled it as a launch site. Everything else went to Florida. 78 to Florida, 1 to WS, 5 Approach and Landing Tests and 54 operational to Edwards, The 747 was remarkable.
The first shuttle launch from Vandenberg was scheduled for October 1986 but after the Challenger disaster in January, it was suspended and eventually cancelled. During construction and testing, the shuttle Enterprise was used for fit checks, and must have been flown in and out on the 747 at least once to do this testing. Vandenberg Space Launch Complex 6 - Wikipedia
 

anumberone

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The return flight path to Florida was right over Longboat Key on the gulf side. First time it broke back through the sound barrier passing over the condo I thought the building next door blew up! Man, the ground shook greater than any earthquake I’ve felt.
The Shuttle landed at Edwards quite a number of times. Even though it wasn’t such a big deal at the end, one always knew when it was landing as it created TWO sonic booms prior to landing.

Lot of folks used to park along a road east of Edwards to catch it on finale approach. It’s a huge vehicle, I made a bigger mistake by never going to watch.
 

FrensicPic

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The Shuttle landed at Edwards quite a number of times. Even though it wasn’t such a big deal at the end, one always knew when it was landing as it created TWO sonic booms prior to landing.

Lot of folks used to park along a road east of Edwards to catch it on finale approach. It’s a huge vehicle, I made a bigger mistake by never going to watch.
I was camping up by Mt. Pinos one time when the Shuttle made an early morning approach over us to Edwards. Boom, boom! The pre-dawn silence of the forest was broken!
 
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PVD

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The first shuttle launch from Vandenberg was scheduled for October 1986 but after the Challenger disaster in January, it was suspended and eventually cancelled. During construction and testing, the shuttle Enterprise was used for fit checks, and must have been flown in and out on the 747 at least once to do this testing. Vandenberg Space Launch Complex 6 - Wikipedia
5 ALT flights (Approach and Landing Tests) used Edwards. Those were done with the Enterprise, which launched from the 747, so I would say likely a number of times.
 
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