Small Rocket Launch Possible This Year

Thursday, July 28, 2016 - 10:00

Kodiak Daily Mirror - JoAnn Snoderly

Visitors to Narrow Cape are sure to notice changes at Kodiak’s rocket launch facility as it prepares for an upcoming Missile Defense Agency launches, but there may be launch activity prior to the military’s use of the facility.

According to Alaska Aerospace Corporation CEO Craig Campbell, the company is in talks with an unnamed client who could produce a rocket launch at the Pacific Spaceport Complex Alaska as soon as this year.

AAC is a state-owned corporation that operates the launch facility at Narrow Cape south of Kodiak city.

“It’s a very small rocket,” Campbell said. “I’m not free to say who it is yet, because we don’t have the contract, but they’re very aggressive. They’d like to do a test launch later, by the end of this year.”

If the contract is finalized with AAC, the launch would likely occur from another side of the complex, rather than from where the site of current MDA project work.

In the meantime, ground has broken on the projects outlined in the MDA contract’s first task orders.

“It’s progressing very quickly and we like that,” Campbell said.

One site is currently being leveled to accommodate the life support area, where Army soldiers will set up camp for their stay during the launch. Additional sites are being cleared for the agency’s own mobile tracking facility and launch pads.

The launch pads will be mobile facilities.

“We’re not building, we’re not constructing a launch pad. We’re just putting a gravel pad in,” Campbell said. “You will not see vertical construction there with us putting in buildings or launch towers or any structures like that.”

Campbell expects the first launch of the MDA contract to occur next summer.

In addition to these launches, Campbell said the AAC is courting Rocket Lab, a U.S. aerospace corporation with a subsidiary in New Zealand, for commercial launches from PSCA.

“We’re getting customers and it’s pretty exciting to have the people interested in the site again.”

The AAC has scheduled an open house to showcase the newly rebuilt complex for Aug. 13 from 10 a.m. to noon. The event will be open to the public.