(Tribune News Service) — A new commander of Space Launch Delta 30 will be welcomed Friday during a change-of-command ceremony at Vandenberg Space Force Base.

Col. Robert A. Long will relieve Col. Anthony J. Mastalir as the person in charge of Space Launch Delta 30, the unit that controls the installation.

The ceremony at 10 a.m. will be presided over by Lt. Gen. Stephen N. Whiting, commander of Space Operations Command at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado.

Officials will gather at the base parade grounds, although inclement weather will move the ceremony to the Pacific Coast Club.

Long is currently the deputy commander of Space Delta 5, a unit within the base that works with allied forces and other military branches within the Combined Space Operations Center, which manages space operations and also can monitor objects in orbit, including satellites.

He now will oversee Space Launch Delta 30 as it manages space and missile testing, places satellites into Earth’s orbit and supports intercontinental ballistic missile launches.

Once officially relieved, Mastalir will deploy to Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar, where he will begin the process of establishing the U.S. Space Forces Central Command, according to Harrower.

Change-of-command ceremonies are a time-honored military tradition that mark the transfer of total responsibility and authority from one individual to another and are conducted to demonstrate a continuation of trust and authority within commands, Harrower said.

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