19 June 2009
Funding requests continue for Kodiak Launch Complex
By Bradley Zint
Kodiak Daily Mirror

All three of Alaska’s Washington representatives have put in for federal funding for the Alaska Aerospace Development Corporation (AADC), CEO Dale Nash announced Thursday afternoon at the AADC board of directors meeting at the Kodiak Launch Complex (KLC).

Nash, participating in the meeting via teleconference, said Sen. Mark Begich and Rep. Don Young put in for $35 million for the corporation. Sen. Lisa Murkowski requested $5 million.

“We hope that as this thing comes out, that it’s a lot closer to the $35 million,” Nash said. “It’s significant that all three have put us in.”

He also said AADC secured the second round of $3.5 million from the State of Alaska, funds toward KLC infrastructure projects including an additional launch pad and a rocket motor storage facility to hold up to five rocket motors.

The KLC additions could provide a rapid-launch capability, support multiple customers concurrently, and provide an ability to conduct near-simultaneous launches or several launches in succession.

Road paving for the rocket motor storage facility — work contracted locally through Brechan Enterprises Inc. — broke ground on June 4 and is expected to be substantially completed by Sept. 15, with a final completion date on Oct. 31. However, KLC staff said the project is going smoothly and the completion dates may fall sooner than expected.

Nash said repainting of the rocket tower, estimated to be a $4.2-million project, ended up costing less, at $2.8 million.

Nash also said AADC work for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is in its second phase. The AADC is helping NOAA do conceptual operational studies for high-altitude, long-endurance, unmanned vehicles — dubbed UAS for unmanned aircraft systems — for potential use in the Arctic, the Pacific Ocean and Gulf of Mexico.

Nash said potential UAS projects in the Arctic would monitor environmental changes and, in the Gulf of Mexico, monitor hurricanes. He said the AADC efforts for NOAA do not conflict with similar projects at the University of Alaska Fairbanks for NOAA.

He said the approach for the UAS project will split duties, leaving “the science to the scientists” and the management side, like launch schedules, to others in a fashion similar to some NASA endeavors.

“That’s the same approach here,” Nash said. “Let the scientists worry about the sensors and the missions and the data they want to collect. Don’t let them worry about whether we maintaining it, whether we’re going to fly it.”

Nash also said AADC’s range safety telemetry system (RSTS) in-house training was a success and approved by six other ranges. The training taught staff how to control in-flight missiles and how to terminate them if they go off course.

Nash said AADC is now trained with its own RSTS capabilities and will no longer have to subcontract RSTS training or management to others.

The AADC board of directors approved five resolutions, Thursday. One resolution allows AADC to process its own payroll and no longer use the state’s AKPAY system. Other resolutions authorized an amount not to exceed $1.05 million toward installing four overhead doors at KLC, and an amount not to exceed $350,000 toward installation of a Doppler surveillance radar system.

Mirror writer Bradley Zint can be reached via e-mail at bzint@kodiakdailymirror.com.

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