Frequently Asked Questions

Who/What is the Alaska Aerospace Corporation?

  • Alaska Aerospace Corporation (AAC) is a body corporate and politic organizationally aligned within the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, but operate independently from the Department. AAC is affiliated with the University of Alaska, but with a separate and independent legal existence.
  • The Alaska Aerospace Corporation was created in 1991 as a public corporation of the state of Alaska.
  • Alaska Aerospace Corporation operates as an independent corporation under a nine person board of directors that is appointed by the Governor.
  • The mission of the Alaska Aerospace Corporation is to develop aerospace related economic growth within the State of Alaska.

Does the Alaska Aerospace Corporation build rockets?

  • The Alaska Aerospace Corporation does not build rockets or satellites. The Alaska Aerospace Corporation supports the launch of rockets and satellites that are transported to the Pacific Spaceport Complex-Alaska.

Why would people want to launch from the Pacific Spaceport Complex-Alaska?

  • Kodiak is an ideal place to launch satellites into polar, sun synchronous and highly elliptical orbits due to the wide open southern launch azimuths over the North Pacific Ocean.
  • Additionally, the Pacific Spaceport Complex-Alaska is unique in that it is not co-located with a Federal Government launch complex, which allows customers the flexibility to schedule the support they need without a lot of government red-tape.

What is the difference between a polar orbit and an equatorial orbit?

  • A polar orbit is where a satellite travels in a path around the planet roughly in a right angle from the equator. Generally any orbit where the satellite comes close to the poles is classified as a polar orbit. PSCA can only launch satellites into polar orbit since orbital rocket launches from the US cannot pass over land because of safety concerns. Polar orbits are typically used by communication, earth observing, and weather satellites. Polar orbits are ideal for these applications since a polar orbiting satellite will eventually fly over the entire surface of the planet as the earth rotates underneath the satellite.
  • An equatorial orbit is where a satellite follows the equator around the planet. Equatorial launches typically take place from launch sites as close to the equator as possible; as they can receive a speed boost from the rotation of the earth. Most satellites in equatorial orbits are in what is called a geosynchronous orbit. This means that the time the satellite takes to orbit the earth, is the same time that the earth takes to rotate once. So to a person on the ground the satellite appears to remain stationary in the sky. These orbits are primarily used for satellite TV and communications.
  • What kinds of rockets are launched from the Pacific Spaceport Complex-Alaska?
  • The Pacific Spaceport Complex-Alaska can launch most types of solid fuel small lift or suborbital rockets. These rockets are used for testing, research, and small payload space lift. The Alaska Aerospace Corporation is working on expansion plans to include liquid propulsion rockets (liquid oxygen and kerosene).

How big are the rockets that are launched from the Pacific Spaceport Complex-Alaska?

  • The Pacific Spaceport Complex-Alaska has launched rocket weighing about 180,000 pounds (90 tons), 80 feet tall (8 stories), with 427,000 pounds of thrust that can place up to 4,000 pounds into low Earth orbit. These are considered “small-lift” rockets. The Alaska Aerospace Corporation is planning on expanding to “medium-lift” rockets, which weigh up to 1,000,000 pounds (500 tons) and are 180 feet (18 stories) tall.

Can we launch astronauts from the Pacific Spaceport Complex-Alaska?

  • Astronaut capable rockets, which are called “human-rated”, cannot currently be launched from the Pacific Spaceport Complex-Alaska. Although the PSCA can be upgraded to support manned missions, the Alaska Aerospace Corporation believes that all manned programs will continue to be flown from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

How do rockets get to the Pacific Spaceport Complex-Alaska?

  • Rockets arrive in Kodiak by airplane or barge. Appropriate safety measures are planned and conducted by the Alaska Aerospace Corporation to ensure public safety with regards to rocket motor shipments.

How much does it cost to launch a rocket?

  • Each mission has specific requirements that determine the cost. For small lift rockets that are delivering a satellite to orbit, the cost is usually $2 to $4 million, although this can increase or decrease based on customer requirements.

Can I tour the site?

  • The Pacific Spaceport Complex-Alaska is located on State of Alaska public land at Narrow Cape, Kodiak, approximately 44 miles from the city of Kodiak. You can drive out and see the sight all year round, and hike around the scenic cape. The land is open to the public at all times except during launch and other hazardous operations when the road is closed by road guards. The PSCA buildings are closed to the public and are surrounded by fences.
  • Guided tours of the Pacific Spaceport Complex-Alaska facilities are given periodically depending on demand and operations schedule. Call the PSCA information office at (907) 743-3500 for tour availability.

How often do you launch?

  • The Alaska Aerospace Corporation has launched 17 rockets over 15 years from 1998 to 2015, averaging about one launch a year.

Is there an internship program?

  • This Program is Temporarily Suspended. html.