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Alaska governor puts halt to Kodiak Launch Complex upgrades

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Facing tumbling oil prices and reduced state revenues, Alaska Governor Bill Walker has halted work on upgrades to the state’s Kodiak Launch Complex (KLC).

Alaska governor puts halt to Kodiak Launch Complex upgrades

Facing tumbling oil prices and reduced state revenues, Alaska Governor Bill Walker has halted work on upgrades to the state’s Kodiak Launch Complex (KLC).

KLC is owned by Alaska Aerospace Corporation (AAC) and recently selected Lockheed Martin to conduct a series of small and medium lift missions using Athena rockets.

The Athena 2S rockets are capable of lift payloads of 1,900 to 3,000 kilograms to a sun-synchronous orbit (SSO).

Mark Greby, COO of AAC, said the upgrades at KLC have been deemed “discretionary spending” by the governor. AAC has been ordered to not spend any discretionary funds and must submit a report on active projects to the governor this month.

Greby said the KLC upgrades have been bundled in with larger projects such as the Susitna-Watana Dam and the Ambler Road Projects, billion-dollar expenditures.

“I’m not quite sure how we got bundled in with megaprojects in the order of $5.7 billion,” said Greby. “We’re just a couple million [dollars], about the same as a mile or two of highway in cost,” he said.

Lockheed Martin and AAC are developing a scope of work to define upgrades to the KLC site to enable a wider range of government and commercial payloads to be launched from the Alaska site.

Lockheed Martin likes the KLC site because it is at a high latitude with wide southern launch azimuths over the North Pacific, favorable for launches into a polar, sun-synchronous and highly elliptical orbit.

“It’s not as congested as other sites,” said Robert Cleave, president of Lockheed Martin Commercial Launch Services. “We don’t have that issue up in Alaska. We essentially have a much more straightforward regulatory environment to navigate.”

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