Lockheed Martin selects Kodiak as site for new rocket launches
Lockheed Martin has selected Alaska’s Kodiak Launch Complex (KLC) on Kodiak as the site dedicated to launching its proposed Athena III rocket for its West Coast launches, Gov. Sean Parnell announced.
With an expanded medium-lift launch capability at KLC, rockets like the large Athena III will be able to launch payloads weighing 13,000 pounds into orbit, a nearly fourfold increase in payload capacity over small-lift rockets that now use the launch complex.
The state and Alaska Aerospace Corp., a state corporation, have been working with Lockheed Martin to develop plans for developing the launch site to support its Athena III vehicle, Parnell said in an statement. With the selection of KLC, Lockheed Martin and Alaska Aerospace, will move forward on developing business plans for constructing this new launch facility and initiating vehicle development while Lockheed Martin pursues future satellite launches.
“Lockheed Martin has been a great corporate partner with Alaska and we appreciate the ongoing commitment to our state,” Parnell said in the statement. “The Kodiak Launch Complex plays a critical role in our nation’s security. Construction of this additional launch pad will not only bring business to Alaska, but it will also create high-paying jobs in the future.”
Parnell has proposed $25 million in state funds for the development of enhanced launch capabilities to meet Lockheed Martin’s needs.
The company and the state’s Alaska Aerospace are pursuing an additional $100 million of financing for the new launch project. The state capital funding would allow the project to move into the detailed engineering phase with construction anticipated to begin in summer, 2012. The first Athena III launch from Kodiak is targeted for late 2014.
The Kodiak Launch Complex is the nation’s most modern orbital space launch complex. Operational since 1998, Kodiak has launched sixteen orbital and suborbital missions, and placed ten satellites into orbit. The Alaska Aerospace leverages modern technology, such as GPS metric tracking, to reduce launch costs, accelerate launch schedules, and provide responsive support to launch vehicle and spacecraft providers.
KLC is an FAA licensed commercial rocket launch facility for orbital and suborbital space launch vehicles owned and operated by the Alaska Aerospace.