KODIAK, AK—Plans to expand the Kodiak Launch Complex (KLC) by adding an additional launch pad and rocket motor storage facility will augment the nation’s ability to place satellites into orbit quickly, while at the same time generating hundreds of jobs and pumping millions of dollars into Alaskan communities.
Designs for the new $42 million facilities are being finalized. They can be completed and fully operational within two years, according to Dale Nash, CEO of Alaska Aerospace. The Anchorage/Kodiak based corporation owns and operates the launch complex. To date, KLC has completed fourteen successful DoD and NASA launches.
“Satellites are the backbone of modern communications networks and are essential to our collective security,” Dale Nash and Tom Case, Alaska Aerospace’s President & COO, wrote in a letter to the Alaska Department of Natural Resources Tuesday. “KLC is the one spaceport in the U.S. that can meet rapid launch requirements.”
An independent study of the economic impact of the launch complex showed that it created 155 jobs that paid $7.7 million in salaries during 2008 in Kodiak alone. The complex accounts for about 11 percent of the Kodiak Island Borough’s total earnings. This pattern has been steady for the past several years, with increased economic activity expected. The complex also creates jobs in Anchorage.
Alaska Aerospace received a commitment of $3.5 million from the state in the FY09 capital budget to build the new facilities. An additional $3.5 million is included in the FY10 capital budget. In addition, Governor Palin identified the KLC expansion as one of five projects with national benefits that she recommended in her letter to the Alaska Congressional Delegation for the Economic Stimulus Bill.
The corporation was created in 1991 to strengthen Alaska’s technological sector and stimulate interest in space among Alaska’s young people. The state’s initial investment of $15.6 million has resulted in $232.5 million in additional infrastructure and launch revenues. The corporation’s operations are wholly funded by contract income.
The launch facility is located on 3,717 acres of state-owned land at Narrow Cape on Kodiak Island. That land is open to public use except for brief periods prior to and after a launch. Several environmental impact studies over the years have concluded that the launch facility has no significant impact on the area.