Governor Welcomes Lockheed Martin Announcement
March 2, 2012, Juneau, Alaska – Governor Sean Parnell today welcomed the news that Lockheed Martin has selected Alaska’s Kodiak Launch Complex (KLC) as the site dedicated to launching its proposed Athena III rocket for its West Coast launches. With the expanded medium-lift launch capability at KLC, rockets like the 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.
The State of Alaska and Alaska Aerospace Corporation have been working with Lockheed Martin to formulate plans for developing the launch site to support its Athena III vehicle. With the selection of KLC, Lockheed Martin and Alaska Aerospace Corporation 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,” Governor Parnell said. “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.”
Lockheed Martin and Alaska Aerospace Corporation are pursuing an additional $100 million of financing for the new launch facility project. Governor Parnell will submit a capital budget request of $25 million to the Legislature to invest in the project. The state funding will now allow the project to move into the detailed engineering phase with construction anticipated to begin this summer. The first Athena III launch out of Kodiak is targeted for late 2014.
The Kodiak Launch Complex is America’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 Corporation 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 Corporation, a public corporation of the State of Alaska.