by Staff Writers
Denver CO (SPX) Mar 05, 2012
Lockheed Martin has chosen Alaska's Kodiak Launch Complex (KLC) as its dedicated West Coast launch facility for Athena rocket launches. The company's decision will enable Alaska Aerospace Corporation to move ahead with plans to expand its space launch capabilities.
Lockheed Martin has been working with the state of Alaska and Alaska Aerospace Corporation on expansion plans for the new medium-lift launch pad to support potential Athena III launches.
"Our nation needs affordable lift to meet current and projected demands at a time of declining budgets and economic pressures," said John Karas, vice president and general manager, Human Space Flight, Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company.
"The leadership demonstrated by Governor Sean Parnell by investing in space launch infrastructure is a model for our nation and provides tremendous incentive to partner with the state and expand the aerospace industry in Alaska."
Last year, Lockheed Martin announced its intent to offer Athena II services with a ride-share launch from Kodiak in late 2013. The company is positioned to expand the Athena II program as it continues to evaluate the business case for Athena III launches from Alaska.
The Athena III would be capable of launching satellites weighing 4,600 kg (10,150 lbs) from the West Coast and 5,900 kg (13, 000 lbs) from the East Coast.
Working with the Alaska Aerospace Corporation, Lockheed Martin will finalize its plans for Athena III over the next few months.
The new medium-lift capability from Kodiak will enable the company to engage Alaska businesses as future suppliers benefiting the state and the Athena launch program, as well as the opportunity to engage future generations of engineers and scientists through Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) outreach.
"We are very pleased at the opportunity to expand our relationship with Lockheed Martin as we pursue medium-lift launches out of Kodiak," said Dale Nash, chief executive officer, Alaska Aerospace Corporation.
"Lockheed Martin has been involved with Alaska Aerospace for more than a decade, beginning with the NASA Kodiak Star Athena I launch in 2001.
"As we move forward together, we anticipate regular launches of Athena rockets from KLC. This will benefit both the nation and Alaska as work content and the associated jobs develop within the state."
Launch Pad at Space-Travel.com
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On Saturday, Feb. 18 at 8:41 p.m. Alaska time, scientists launched a NASA sounding rocket from Poker Flat Research Range into a brilliant aurora display. The rocket mission, designed to gather information on space weather conditions that affect satellite communications, was a success. "It was a terrific aurora, the rocket worked great, the instruments worked great and the supporting radar ... read more
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