Vandenberg Air Force Base is among the nation's most important military and space installations. From here, the Air Force launches unarmed test missiles toward the South Pacific-traversing 4,200 miles in a mere 25 minutes.
Private sector aerospace companies contract with the base to rocket-launch satellites requiring polar orbits.
All launches are spectacular to witness. Some are announced 48 hours in advance, but weather conditions can force postponement.
VAFB occupies just two percent of its 99,000 acres, using the physical buffer. This undeveloped land is home for 270 endangered species, flora and fauna and a new wildlife sanctuary.
Guests can tour the base and see several launch facilities and learn about new commercial space activities. Tours are conducted on Wednesdays. Reservations are required.