Point Arguello
Point Arguello

Point Arguello (Spanish: Punta Argüello)[1][2] is a headland on the Gaviota Coast, in Santa Barbara County, California, near the city of Lompoc.[3] The area was first used by the United States Navy in 1959 for the launch of military and sounding rockets. It was transferred to the United States Air Force in 1964,[4] at which time it became part of Vandenberg Air Force Base.[5]


In 1769, the Spanish Portola expedition became the first Europeans to explore this area by land. Soldiers of the expedition named a nearby point Los Pedernales or Punta Pedernales, because they found flints there.[6] The entire point was given that name on some early maps but, in 1792, British naval explorer George Vancouver dubbed it Point Arguello, for José Darío Argüello, a Spanish frontier soldier who was Commandant of the Presidio of Santa Barbara and acting governor of Alta California.[7]

A High-frequency direction finding (HFDF) was established here by the Navy during World War II. These radio intercept sites along the coast could track Japanese warships and merchant marine vessels as far away as the Western Pacific. The other stations in California were at Farallon Islands, Point Saint George, and San Diego. Bainbridge Island, Washington also hosted a station.[8]

Launch pads

Rockets listed in italics were launched from the complex after its transfer to Vandenberg Air Force Base in 1964.

Original Designation Later Designation
(Vandenberg Air Force Base, from 1966)
Rockets Remarks
LC-1-1 SLC-3W Atlas-Agena
Atlas E/F
LC-1-2 SLC-3E Atlas-Agena
Atlas E/F
Atlas H
Atlas IIAS
Atlas V
LC-2-3 SLC-4W Atlas-Agena
Titan IIIB
Titan 23G
LC-2-4 SLC-4E Atlas-Agena
Titan IIID
Titan 34D
Titan IV
Falcon 9
PALC-A N/A Sounding rockets
PALC-B N/A Sounding rockets
LC-C PLC-C Sounding rockets
PALC-D SLC-5 Scout

See also


  1. ^ Descripción de las Costas de California
  2. ^ Journal of the American Institute of Architects, Volume 2
  3. ^ "Point Arguello". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey, United States Department of the Interior.
  4. ^ Wade, Mark. "Point Arguello". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Archived from the original on 27 March 2009. Retrieved 19 May 2009.
  5. ^ Day, Dwayne. "Vandenberg Air Force Base". Spaceflight. US Centennial of Flight Commission. Archived from the original on 11 May 2009. Retrieved 19 May 2009. Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  6. ^ Bolton, Herbert E. (1927). Fray Juan Crespi: Missionary Explorer on the Pacific Coast, 1769-1774. HathiTrust Digital Library. pp. 176–177. Retrieved 1 April 2014.
  7. ^ Gudde, Erwin; William Bright (2004). California Place Names (Fourth ed.). University of California Press. p. 17. ISBN 0-520-24217-3.
  8. ^ Menzel, Sewall (2020). The Pearl Harbor Secret: Why Roosevelt Undermined the U.S. Navy. ABC-CLIO. p. 41. ISBN 9781440875861.

Coordinates: 34°37′N 120°36′W / 34.617°N 120.600°W / 34.617; -120.600