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Lt. Gov. Treadwell Touts Alaska's Aerospace Leadership: Innovation, Kodiak Launch, F-16s

February 11, 2013, Washington, D.C. – Lt. Governor Mead Treadwell told a U.S. Chamber of Commerce/Space Foundation forum today that an America that recognizes the value of  Alaska’s location would take greater advantage of our Kodiak Launch Complex and also keep F-16 jet fighters at Eielson Air Force Base near Fairbanks.

“It all comes down to strategic location,” Treadwell said. “If the U.S. understands the value of what it bought in 1867, it will use the Kodiak Launch Complex more. Polar launches from Alaska cover the earth for remote sensing and telecommunications or GPS. America wouldn’t think of moving F-16 fighter jets from Eielson either – the nation’s most forward operating base for F-16s.”

Alaska is also an attractive proving ground for aerospace systems because of its strong market for weather forecasting, remote sensing, aviation safety applications and telecommunications across great distances. Alaska’s private sector and University are taking the lead in advancing aviation and aerospace technologies, Treadwell told the audience.

“From missile defense to space-based technology for air traffic control to unmanned aerial systems – or drones – Alaska has been a proving ground for aviation and aerospace technology,” Treadwell said.

“The Alaska Aerospace Corporation operates one of the premier launch facilities in the nation, with 16 successful launches to date. Our university system has been involved in aerospace research and development since the 1920s, and our aviation safety records are improving with the use of technology tested in our own skies,” Treadwell said.

The global airline industry expects 34,000 more planes in the sky over the next 20 years – double the number operating today. That means 600,000 new aircraft maintenance technicians will be needed to keep them operational.

“In Alaska, we’re trying to address this by exciting our students about aerospace. By promoting Build-A-Plane and the Real World Design Challenge among our high school students, and by investing in a robust university system that’s committed to aerospace R&D, we want our students to be forward-thinking about aerospace in Alaska,” Treadwell said.

Treadwell also serves as chair of the Aerospace States Association (ASA), an organization of lieutenant governors who promote aerospace industry, education and workforce development.

The forum, Free Enterprise and the Final Frontier, was a part of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Business Horizon Series and was co-sponsored by the Space Foundation.

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