The 2002 Vandenberg AFB Air & Space Show
November 2, 2002
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The photos on this page were taken by me at the 2002 Vandenberg AFB Airshow, on November 2, 2002. Vandenberg is the United States' primary west-coast rocket launch site. There were originally plans to launch the Space Shuttle from here, and so a 15,000 foot runway was built as a landing strip for the Shuttle. That runway was the venue for today's airshow. This air show offers quite a few draws.
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If you go to Vandenberg and see this sign, you've made a wrong turn and are about to meet a very polite guard with a very loaded gun.
The launch pads were only visible from a distance.
Camera tracker, used to track a rocket or aircraft.
The Airshow Checklist: 1) Dive at ground. 2) Miss ground. 3) Don't screw up.
Grumman F8F Bearcat.
Curtiss C-46 "China Doll"
Cadets from the Air Force Academy's Wings of Blue Jump Team.
Ron Sirull and Brutus, the Sky Diving Dog (in red pouch on Ron's chest).
"Tumbling Bear" Rob Harrison in the Zlin 50.
Bud Granley in an AT-6C, with a Royal Canadian Air Force paint job.
Eric Beard in a Yak 54.
In Thrust We Trust!
An F-18 demonstrates the configuration used when landing on an aircraft carrier.
C-130 on takeoff.
Jim LeRoy in a Pitts S2S precisely slices a tape.
Up We Go, Into the Wild Blue Yonder...
(John Collver in the AT-6 Texan "War Dog")
Heritage flight with F-16 and P-51.
F-117 Stealth Fighter.
40 foot tall Robosaurus snacks on a rocket.
Minuteman missile Transporter-Erector.
A full size mockup of the Mars 2003 Athena rover. JPL demonstrated a mockup of the Mars Pathfinder rover, and gave little children an opportunity to be run over by a small rover!
Atlas MA-3 rocket booster engine.
Boeing AGM-86B cruise missle, and the cone in the upper right corner is a Mark 21 ballistic reentry vehicle used on Peacekeeper ICBMs (more commonly known as a NUKE).
NRO (National Reconaissance Office) Agena rocket.
Microcosm Scorpius Sprite SLV mockup, perhaps 20 feet tall.
Orbital's L-1011 "Stargazer", the aircraft which drop-launches the Pegasus Rocket. The Pegasus mounts right above where the two people are standing. The aircraft flies out to wherever in the world is the mathematically optimal place to launch the rocket.
We got to go inside! Here are the controls for launching the Pegasus. The rest of the plane was empty except for a half-dozen seats.
Royal Canadian Air Force CT-142 Dash 8, an air navigation trainer.
Canadian CF-18 fighter jet.
HH-65A Dolphin, used by the Coast Guard. AWACS from Elmendorf AFB, Alaska in background.
Guard dog under a KC-135R aerial refueling tanker from the Wisconsin Air National Guard.
NASA's F-18 chase plane.
These pictures were taken with a Canon D60 digital SLR camera, mounted to a Canon 100-400mm F4.5-5.6L IS zoom lens for the airborne shots, and Canon 28-135mm F/3.5-5.6 IS zoom and Peleng 8mm F/3.5 circular fisheye lenses for the static displays.