VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE — Nitrogen tetroxide rocket fuel was trucked into this Santa Barbara County air base early Friday morning without incident, the second day in a row the controversial shipments have arrived.
The California Highway Patrol escorted the tractor-trailer carrying about 4,000 gallons of the oxidizer, which is used to launch Titan rockets, Sgt. Bruce Zielsdorf said.
Rockets using the dangerous chemical for fuel have been launched from Vandenberg since 1963, but concern over the routing of highway shipments through populous areas of the region only became widespread in September.
The shipments now follow a new route through California that crosses the Mojave Desert, skirts north of metropolitan Los Angeles and continues west to the base on the Central California Coast.