April 16, 1997: Air Force Flight Test Center Established the Access to Space Office Published April 16, 2021 Air Force Flight Test Center EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif -- The Air Force Flight Test Center established the Access to Space Office in order to support the Air Force’s effort to integrate its air and space mission.. The first of these was the creation of an Access to Space Office, consistent with the Air Force's move toward integrating air and space missions. The nation's burgeoning space program, coupled with the imminence the X-33 program prompted the move which was, after all, fully in keeping with the Flight Test Center's long involvement with space-related programs. The X-33, Lockheed Martin's one-half scale test vehicle of the next-generation Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV), was only the largest in a series of ongoing or upcoming air and space-related programs: the X-34 air launched hypersonic spaceplane, the X-38 Space Recovery Vehicle, and the Hyper-X Ramjet/Scramjet vehicle, among others. The AFFTC became a working partner in the X-33 program with the decision to locate the futuristic RLV's launch complex on the Edwards Test Range. The groundbreaking ceremony for the X-33 launch complex, which was to occupy 25 acres of land near Haystack Butte, took place on 14 November 1997.