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History


This page helps preserve and provide the general public-at-large with the history of the Space and Missile Systems Center and Los Angeles Air Force Base in El Segundo, Calif. Here you'll find research papers, podcasts, transcripts and images spanning more than 60 years of Air Force space and missile history.

Explore the history of the Space and Missile Systems Center by listening to these podcasts on your computer, in your car or while walking around the SMC Heritage Center exhibits! With the SMC History Lecture Series podcast, you can learn about Space and Missile Systems Center history from historians, authors, active duty or retired military members, and specialists in research, development and technology.

During the SMC Heritage Center Audio Tour, you'll enjoy background information about the space and missile artifacts on display at the SMC Heritage Center and learn about the people who developed them and the crews that operated them. Click on the links below to listen to individual podcasts.

Schriever Wall of Honor

In 2007, the Air Force Association's Schriever Chapter 147, with support from industry partners, sponsored and commissioned the Statue of General Bernard A. Schriever.  In November 2007, the Space & Missile Systems Center dedicated the Statue and Wall as the General Schriever Memorial. The 60th SMC Anniversary in 2014 was chosen as the initial occasion to recognize some of the earliest pioneers who have made tremendous contributions to our community by adding their names to the Schriever Wall of Honor. Every year additional pioneers are chosen to have their names added to the Schriever Wall of Honor and SMC personnel, Aerospace Corporation, Industry members and community gather to unveil the Wall of Honor in tribute to these pioneers of military space.

 

2014 Inductees

2015 Inductees

2016 Inductees

2017 Inductees

2018 Inductees

 

SMC HISTORY SNAPSHOT

The Space Systems Division, one of SMC’s predecessor organizations, worked with the National Reconnaissance Office to manage and develop the Manned Orbiting Laboratory in the 1960s.  MOL might have been the world’s first long-term space station, but it was never launched.

SSD developed the MOL’s laboratory and launch vehicle for the Air Force, while NRO developed the classified reconnaissance camera system.  In March 1965, SSD awarded contracts for MOL’s preliminary design work to Douglas Aircraft, Lockheed, Boeing and General Electric.  Seventeen military officers had assignments in Los Angeles to be trained as MOL astronauts.

DoD planned to launch five MOL spacecraft between 1968-1970.  The lab had a pressurized, shirt-sleeve environment that didn’t require space suits) while it maintained a near-earth orbit for up to 30 days.  Upon the mission’s completion, the 2-man crew would return to earth in the attached Gemini space capsule and the lab would burn up in reentry. Unfortunately, the MOL program faced mission changes and delays, and incurred significant cost increases.

In June 1969, DoD cancelled the MOL program due to high projected cost increases, and because advances in automated, unmanned space systems made MOL unnecessary.  Among the former MOL astronauts, three became flag officers and seven became astronauts on the Space Shuttle.


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Finding your next adventure! The 423rd FSS Outdoor Recreation hosted a three-day excursion to northern Wales to hike the second highest peak in the United Kingdom, Mt. Snowdon. During this event, members of the 501st community had the opportunity to learn form experienced mountaineers, explore the local town, and enjoy the natural beauty of North Wales. Whether you want to take a break from the daily hustle-and-bustle of work, or you want to explore the beautiful outdoors the United Kingdom has to offer; contact your local military outdoor recreation for your next adventure!
"Do you remember Corporal Radar O’Reilly from M*A*S*H? He went from being 'wet behind the ears' to a connected net-worker who kept his unit supplied. A network can help you solve problems, provide perspective, teach you new things, support your efforts, inform you of new opportunities, celebrate your success, give you feedback and help you relieve stress." To read Ms. Tracy Snider's commentary about Professional Networking and your future please click the link below: https://www.501csw.usafe.af.mil/News/Commentaries/Display/Article/1818744/professional-networking-and-your-future/
The Air Force's birth year is 1947, but Air Force history started long before that. The Doolittle Raiders, part of the United States Army Air Forces, demonstrated America's resolve and will to win after our setbacks in the earliest months of World War II.
Maj. Gen. James Dawkins Jr., 8th Air Force and Joint-Global Strike Operations Center commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Melvina Smith, 8th Air Force command chief, visited Airmen during the U.S. Strategic Command Bomber Task Force in Europe. To read more about the general's visit, please visit the link below: https://www.501csw.usafe.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/1814966/8th-air-force-commander-visits-bomber-task-force-in-europe/
The Cherokee proverb 'Battle Between Two Wolves' explores the struggle between opposing elements within us. The ‘Good Wolf’ which represents qualities like kindness, love, humility and truth and The ‘Bad Wolf’ who represents greed, anger, arrogance and dishonesty. Which wolf wins? The one you feed. Janneane Moody, 501st CSW Community Support Coordinator, wrote a commentary about what that proverb means to her. To read the commentary please click the link below: https://www.501csw.usafe.af.mil/News/Commentaries/Display/Article/1812814/battle-between-two-wolves/
422nd Security Forces Airmen conducted MILO Range Combat Simulator training at RAF Croughton. Purchased using Commander’s Readiness Funds, the Milo system is the squadron’s newest training addition improving response, readiness and awareness. The system includes over 500 interactive branching scenarios with most scenarios being based off real life experiences. To read and see more please click the link below: https://www.501csw.usafe.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/1811867/422nd-sfs-utilizes-new-milo-range-combat-simulator/
We asked for your best photos of the #BUFF, and you delivered! Check out these amazing shots of B-52s from Barksdale Air Force Base over the skies of #Fairford. A round of applause to aviation enthusiasts Adrian Male, David Bown, Hugh Sawyer, Kieran Leigh Bregan, Mark Bentley, Mick Westlake and Paul Goldsmith! 👏 #SovereignSkies #BomberTaskForceEurope U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa
The United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom visited RAF Fairford during the Bomber Task Force deployment March 29. To see photos of the ambassador's visit please click the link below: https://www.501csw.usafe.af.mil/News/Photos/igphoto/2002111911/
100 days to RIAT!
We're loving all these photos of the #BomberTaskForce, captured by the many talented aviation photographers here in the #UK. Check out some of their top shots below, taken by Mark Watkins and Duncan Monk. ✈️ Did you spot the mighty #BUFF at Fairford? Send your photos our way via Facebook Messenger for the chance to be featured on our page! U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa | Barksdale Air Force Base
"We should first and foremost encourage and promote the inherent strengths that exist within everyone who wears a uniform and endeavors to serve in the defense of this great nation," said Gregory Varoz. To read Mr. Varoz's commentary about Individual Resilience and Organizational Excellence, please click the link below: https://www.501csw.usafe.af.mil/News/Commentaries/Display/Article/1804248/individual-resilience-and-organizational-excellence/
Members of the 501st CSW who helped support the Bomber Task Force deployment in Europe got to meet the B-52 pilots and toured the aircraft at RAF Fairford, April 2, 2019.
Last Saturday on March 30th, 25 Tigers from the 422nd Communications Squadron took to the streets of Aynho and collected approximately 500 lbs of garbage. The effort was led by Staff Sgt. Dorian Brooks, from our radio shop. Great job!
The 501st CSW inducted local civic leaders as Honorary Commanders at RAF Croughton, March 29. Each member was presented with a Certificate of Appreciation from Col. Ron Cheatham, 501st CSW Vice Commander. For more photos please click the link below: https://www.flickr.com/photos/501csw/albums/72157704376286212
U.S. and U.K. military personnel along with RAF Welford base members and local community, honoured the crew of a 101st Squadron Lancaster DV290 that crashed March 31st, 1944. In March 1996 a memorial was constructed in honour of the crew. Annually on the anniversary of the crash, a joint U.S/U.K wreath laying ceremony takes place to remember the crew that perished. To see more photos please click the link below: https://www.501csw.usafe.af.mil/News/Photos/igphoto/2002107886/
RAF Alconbury/Molesworth Community, Bun-D informed AAFES they are terminating their contract, and effective immediately will no longer operate on RAF Alconbury. Neither AAFES nor the 423 ABG had advance notice of this decision. AAFES will bring in another vendor, but this will take some time. They will keep us appraised of their progress. The remaining food options on RAF Alconbury are Subway, the Commissary (sandwiches/salad bar during lunch hours), The Grind, Bowling Center grill, AAFES Troop Store (roller grill) and the rotating food trucks. Also, the Stukeley Inn has started Wednesday lunch buffets on a trial basis. As always thank you for your service! We, along with AAFES and all of our partners & stakeholders are committed to always providing the best possible support to this community, and keeping you informed along the way. v/r Col Bromen
B-52's flying out of RAF Fairford supported our #NATO allies in Norway yesterday!
The future of our Air Force! ✈️🚀🛰 #SpaceStartsHere #SMC https://t.co/FRM8aE5Gp2
Thunderbirds happening now! Best seats are by the STEM and Space Pavilion! #STEM #SpaceStartsHere #SMChttps://t.co/OQFckgO0aB
Thunderbirds will be on shortly so take the chance to talk to our experts down at the STEM and Space Pavillion!… https://t.co/vgXtxjxb5E
Excitment is rising here at Kirtland Air Force Base. Come to STEM & SPACE PAVILLION and experience SMC excellence… https://t.co/Gq6ty8AhMt
Come join the MRF near the STEM & SPACE PAVILLION for some beautiful weather and shade as you enjoy the Kirtland Ai… https://t.co/qP5MGV0h1r
Come join us at the STEM & SPACE PAVILLION here at kirtland Air Force Base and grab some stickers from the SMC boot… https://t.co/16BKauSmZN
@ChiefSmc and our #SMC formation crossing the finish line of the #TorranceArmedForcesDay #5k with high fives from B… https://t.co/vQDeZDjH0e
Come join SMCs MRF team here at the Kirtland Air Force Base, located right next to the STEM & SPACE PAVILLION. #SMChttps://t.co/6Nb3KRbkbI
Brig. Gen. Whitney got to meet and greet with some of our local #SWAT and medics here at the… https://t.co/xgnvklPuqv
Hi. Lines are nice and short at SMC booths, our specialists are standing by for every burning question you want to… https://t.co/tdoh0bFaEl
Greetings, come on over to the LEX booth and discover how and when we launch rockets. We are located in the STEM &… https://t.co/bHwCySBNf2
Hi Y'all, come on down to the Air and Space Fiesta here at Kirtland Air Force Base and hang out at the STEM & SPACE… https://t.co/jkOtXFEYxn
Howdy! Come see Advanced Systems and Development Directorates booth here at the STEM & SPACE PAVILLION here at the… https://t.co/s6nZTdGSrT
What a fine morning to be at the Air Show, come to the STEM & SPACE PAVILLION to see and talk with our SATCOM speci… https://t.co/oimEZGVsYp
Hello! STEM & SPACE PAVILLION is now open for visitors, please stop by and see our wonderful displays #SMChttps://t.co/sKfMlE6I0X
@ChiefSmc and our #SMC formation are ready for the 5k! Let’s go, Air Force! #SpaceStartsHerehttps://t.co/K3YzfjJw4U
Good morning, What a beautiful morning to be at the Kirtland Air Force Base 2019 Air Show. Come join us at the STE… https://t.co/u8nbCOlWma
RT @SMC_CC: Momentous day @AF_SMC commemorating six new names to the Schriever Wall of Honor. Our nation is forever grateful, & I am gratef…
RT @AFSpace: #TBT @AF_SMC launched its 10th Wideband Global SatCom at Cape Canaveral, Florida. The satellite is a partnership between the U…

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Los Angeles AFB Operator:
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