Alaska Aerospace Corporation preps for commercial launches

Alaska Aerospace Corporation launch facility in Narrow Cape. (Photo courtesy of Alaska Aerospace Corporation)

Alaska Aerospace Corporation launch facility in Narrow Cape. (Photo courtesy of Alaska Aerospace Corporation)

The Alaska Aerospace Corporation is contracting with two different commercial companies for launches this spring and summer at the Pacific Spaceport Complex at Narrow Cape.

One of the companies, Vector Space Systems, is headquartered in Arizona and offers launch services for small satellites.

AAC President and CEO Craig Campbell says the corporation worked with them a couple of years ago to test communications, data flow, and other conditions for a potential rocket launch.

Vector will contract with AAC again this summer, and Campbell says they’re still in the planning stages and haven’t decided on exact dates or number of launches.

Also, in spring, AAC will work with a California-based rocket building company, which Campbell declined to name due to the terms of their contract.

He did say that it’s the first time AAC will handle a liquid fuel rocket at its facility.

“We’ve always done solid fuel and the rocket always comes already filled with the solid fuel, but liquid fuel, they ship the rocket up empty, they’ll erect it on the pad, they’ll fuel it just prior to launch, and then they’ll launch it, so we’re putting in the facilities to support the capability of fueling those liquid rockets.”

He says the company is bringing in some of its own supplies to set up its mission control center, where employees will oversee the launch.

“It’s a lot smaller than ours, it’s very tailored to what their rocket is, so we actually have started clearing some land and putting in the power to a small area up by our maintenance support facility, which will be their mission support center. That should arrive in about the next three to four weeks, and we’ll put that in place.”

Campbell says the company is scheduling their rocket launch for late March or early April.

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