WASHINGTON — Vice President Mike Pence on Wednesday will visit Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, where he will meet with senior officials to discuss space launch activities, space traffic management and ongoing efforts to establish a U.S. Space Force.

A White House official told SpaceNews Pence will be briefed on launch operations at the Western Range. The base is the headquarters for the 30th Space Wing which manages Department of Defense space and missile testing, as well as satellite launches into polar orbit from the West Coast.

The vice president also will visit the Combined Space Operations Center, or CSpOC, where Air Force and allied space operators track all space activities and support military operations around the world. Pence will hear about ongoing efforts to transition the civilian space traffic management mission from the Air Force to the Department of Commerce.

The CSpOC will be one of two key command centers supporting U.S. Space Command when it’s established in the coming weeks.

“The vice president will address service members at Vandenberg, thank them for their service and dedication to space, and discuss the Trump administration’s efforts to modernize our nation’s space infrastructure and create the sixth branch of the armed forces, the United States Space Force,” the White House official said.

Investments in range infrastructure are critical to Vandenberg’s future, officials told SpaceNews, as the base seeks to become more attractive to commercial companies.

Sandra Erwin writes about military space programs, policy, technology and the industry that supports this sector. She has covered the military, the Pentagon, Congress and the defense industry for nearly two decades as editor of NDIA’s National Defense...