Alaska Aerospace looking for new launch site

KODIAK — Alaska Aerospace Corp. is weighing options for a second launch facility outside the state, but CEO Craig Campbell says Alaskans will still benefit from the additional revenue.

The state-owned corporation’s board of directors recently authorized spending of up to $250,000 for surveys, property appraisal, site design and other preliminary efforts for the launch site, the Kodiak Daily Mirror reported Tuesday. Campbell estimated $30,000 to $35,000 of the funds has already been spent.

Alaska Aerospace operates the Pacific Spaceport Complex Alaska. The Kodiak Island complex is capable of polar, sun-synchronous and high-inclination orbits, but does not support the equatorial launches that make up most of the industry demand.

With the new launch facility, Campbell said having equatorial launches will give the corporation a competitive advantage and also bring more customers to Kodiak.

“We’re headquartered in Alaska, we employ Alaskans. We’re trying to get more business for Kodiak, so if we can offer the full range of equatorial and polar, that gets more customers to come to us for polar operations out of Alaska,” Campbell said. “That gives us a greater opportunity to have more business at the PSCA, which is the goal and objective of why we’re doing this.”

The company has been eyeing several sites for the facility, including in Hawaii and Saipan.

The expansion plans come about two years after the state stopped providing funding the corporation, which has failed to turn a profit since it formed in 1991.

Alaska Aerospace Corp. has recently entered into contracts with Rocket Lab USA, Vector Space Services and the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, according to an Alaska Department of Military and Veterans Affairs department overview dated Jan. 19.

The company’s end of the year net position was $76.3 million, a $4.9 million increase over 2015, the overview states.

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