Subj: shuttle
Date: 1/7/01 3:04:13 AM Pacific Standard Time

K- Was going to email Richard Hoagland with this question since he was an old NASA hand, but he doesn't have an email link on his site that I could find. 
Was wondering why they put "(estimated)" by the number of missions for the Orbiter Vehicles?
See link;
Is Vandenburg AFB operational as a Shuttle launch facility?  I remember reading in the '80's that they built a shuttle capable launch facility here (see where this is going?).  Then suddenly, the last I heard was that it was a flunk on the engineering end and would not work for shuttles.  Hmm..   Typical gov cover story? 
Granted the military could launch it's own satallites now, but just how many com and spy "satallites" does the USAF have to have?  Would it justify the huge expense of a full fledge launch facility when they could contract NASA to do the job, or is the facility the necessity of something bigger. They do launch a high volume of unmanned rockets from the site, but I wonder if there's not any manned military missions going on.  Or furthermore, all the unmanned launches may just be small potatoes - refuelers and resupplies to what they've already got in place up there.  A necessary "life-line". Hmm.. Now maby that would justify the cost - but then again, cost has never been an issue with the gov.
some pics of Vandenburg AFB launches.