Mar 23, 2012 4:00 PM by Ariel Wesler

Vandenberg unveils new launch training simulator

Vandenberg Air Force Base is showcasing a new tool to give airmen hands-on training before they even step foot on the launch pad. It's called Bogart Bay and was built by members of the 4th Space Launch Squadron at Vandenberg to mirror the inside of a space launch complex.

Vandenberg officials say it's going to cut down training time from six months to two weeks. The training rocket made up of multiple parts. The mock-up model is about 80 percent the size of an actual rocket. Base officials say it contains the same hardware you would find on a standard Atlas V or Delta series rocket.

The simulator will also help training technicians get their certifications faster.

"We can have more control over our schedule. We can have repeatable events and really run the trainees through a lot of scenarios that will better prepare them to do the mission," said Lt. Col. Ram Riojas, Director of Operations for the 4th Space Launch Squadron.

The simulator was created with about $10 million worth of equipment from around the base. Many of the parts are from previous missions that have been taken out of service. The base also received some additional funding for the project from the Space and Missile Systems Center in Los Angeles.

Technicians will begin using Bogart Bay to train the first group of airmen at the base this summer.

A second identical simulator is being sent to train airmen at Patrick Air Force Base in Florida.

A Delta IV rocket is scheduled to blast off from Vandenberg Thursday, March 29 at 3:30 p.m.


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