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Posted: January 5, 2011 The fixed pad erector uses hydraulic pistons to lift the Delta 4-Heavy rocket upright and place the vehicle atop the pad at Vandenberg Air Force Base's Space Launch Complex 6 in January 2010. The action occurs inside the protective confines of the mobile assembly shelter that shrouds the pad.Credit: Images from United Launch Alliance video Credit: Images from United Launch Alliance video | | | | 2014 Spaceflight Now Inc.Delta 4-Heavy rocket moved to Vandenberg launch pad SPACEFLIGHT NOWPosted: May 1, 2013 United Launch Alliance and the Air Force are readying the next Delta 4-Heavy rocket, the largest booster in the U.S. arsenal that is responsible for launching the nation's elite surveillance satellites.File photo of the first Delta 4-Heavy rollout at Vandenberg. Credit: ULA videoThe massive rocket was placed atop its West Coast pad this week, rolling out of the hangar at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Monday and going vertical Tuesday for a high-profile mission to deliver a National Reconnaissance Office spacecraft into polar orbit.Liftoff is targeted for Aug. 28.Located on the southern stretches of the base and hidden in a bowl of hills, the Space Launch Complex-6 pad avoids the prying eyes of the public for performing hush-hush military spaceflights.The secluded site was first conceived in the 1960s for launching the Manned Orbiting Laboratory project using Titan 3 boosters and modified Gemini B capsules, but it was cancelled in the midst of construction in favor of unmanned satellites.The site was reborn in the 1980s for classified Air Force missions of the space shuttle, but that effort was cancelled in the final phases of construction after Challenger in favor of unmanned rockets.SLC-6 supported a handful of small Athena rockets in the late 1990s before becoming the West Coast home to the Delta 4, part of the Pentagon's Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle fleet.After launching an NRO bird and an Air Force weather satellite in separate flights in 2006 using single-core Delta 4-Medium-type rockets, the site underwent an upgrade to accommodate a Heavy, the triple-barrel power necessary to haul much larger cargos into space.