Launch and Range Systems Wing - History


The Delta II rocket was developed when the Air Force decided to return to a mixed fleet of expendable launch vehicles following the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster and other launch failures. The Delta II entered the Air Force inventory in February 1987 after the Air Force awarded a contract to McDonnell Douglas for the construction of 18 Delta IIs to launch NAVSTAR Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites, which were originally programmed for Space Shuttle launch. The first Delta II launched a GPS satellite Feb. 14, 1989.

The EELV program is designed to improve our nation's access to space by making space launch vehicles more affordable and reliable. The program is replacing the existing launch system (Delta II) with two families of launch vehicles (Delta IV & Atlas V), each using common components and common infrastructure. EELV's operability improvements over current systems include a standard payload interface and increased off-pad processing. As the Air Force's space-lift modernization program, EELV was designed to reduce launch cost by at least 25 percent over heritage Atlas, Delta and Titan space launch systems.

LTRS consists of ground based surveillance, navigation, flight operations and analysis, command and control, communications and weather assets located at the Eastern Range (Patrick AFB, FL.), and the Western Range (Vandenberg AFB, CA.). There are two major efforts underway for the LTRS program: modernization and sustainment. Modernization efforts seek to revamp and recapitalize current systems in the Instrumentation, Control and Display and Network segments. The current modernization efforts will replace approximately 20% of the system. Depot support projects enhance the existing systems on the ranges to reduce the operations and sustainment costs.


The LRSW Wing, located at the Space and Missile Systems Center at Los Angeles Air Force Base, CA, is home to more than 650 government, military, aerospace, and contractor personnel. The $57B billion portfolio of launch and ground systems includes LTRS, EELV and Delta II.

LRSW, formerly a system program office, became an Air Force Wing on August 1, 2006. The Wing was formed from the merger of three separate program offices: Launch Systems, EELV and Range.

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