Vandenberg Space Force Base plans military and commercial expansion to boost local economy

The future of space could be right here on the central coast, and the private and public sectors are joining forces to foster economic growth and space exploration.

On Thursday, REACH, a nonprofit with economic impact on the Central Coast, announced its partnership (Memorandum of Understanding or “MOU”) with the 30th Space Wing, Santa Barbara County, Cal Poly SLO, Deloitte and Go-Biz to develop a master plan for commercial space at Vandenberg Space Force Base.

“We can be a technology leader in one of the most beautiful places on the planet,” said Joan Hartman, District 3 supervisor for Santa Barbara County.

On more than 100,000 acres of land along the California coast, the new Vandenberg space force base supplies 16,000 jobs and generates $ 4.5 billion a year for the counties of Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo.

A new plan aims to increase that amount to $ 6 billion and an additional 2,000 jobs per year over the next decade.

“The global launch market is a key indicator for the industry in general and of course Vandenberg is uniquely positioned to compete extremely effectively,” said Andrew Hackleman, COO of REACH.

A recent study found military and commercial interests in Vandenberg could lead to vast economic expansion

“California and the Western Range is a place where a lot of these newer companies and technologies want and need to be,” said Dee Dee Meyers, director of the Governor’s Office for Business and Economic Development (Go-Biz).

In addition, the base could allow private companies to enter into a proposed commercial space enterprise area.

“We envision a space that is more accessible to the community, more accessible to our partners and yet close to launch capability,” said Col. Joe Tringe, the individual mobilization reinforcement of the commander of the Vandenberg Space Launch Delta 30. “Those- These enable these proliferating constellations, which enable these imagery missions and the meteorological missions that are going to be so important at all levels. And because they are important to both DOD and business partners, we can consider sharing an infrastructure that will allow them to be launched more frequently and to be maintained.

With increased investment in industry, local leaders aspire to compete with the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

“My office is now working with the Air Force to develop policies to remove some of the barriers identified in the report that prevent much needed investments in base infrastructure and expand launch capabilities,” said the 24th district representative. , Salud Carbajal.

The plan could also foster high-skilled talent and well-paying jobs.

“This plan is a win-win,” said Cal Poly president Jeffrey Armstrong. Cal Poly, UC Santa Barbara, Allan Hancock College and Cuesta Community College benefit from access to cutting-edge technologies and experts, through entrepreneurship and internship opportunities for faculty and students, through the ‘improving vibrant local communities and creating more career opportunities for our many graduates. “

Several projects, ranging from on-base launch pad improvements to off-base roads, are already underway.

The master plan is currently in the first phase which should be completed in the coming weeks.

The $ 450 billion global space industry is expected to reach multibillion dollar levels in three decades, experts say.

The economy of the Central Coast braces for an impact once the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant decommissioned. Many are hoping that Vandenberg and the local space race will fill the economic void.

REACH has also formed a bipartisan coalition made up of several local, state and federal organizations to understand what happens after the Diablo Canyon decommissioning.

CLICK HERE to view the master plan for Space Force Base Vandenberg.

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