07 September 2005

KLC Facts Left Out of the Open House Media Packet

Congratulations to the folks who engineered the Kodiak Launch Complex open house on August 20, 2005! It was a brilliantly engineered public relations event.

Here is some information that did not appear in the media information packet, but was provided by AADC officials when asked specific questions.

The cost of the launch tower was ten million dollars, funded entirely by the now-defunct Alaska Science and Technology Foundation. The ASTF was dissolved by the State Legislature in 2003 at the urging of Governor Murkowski who said many of the projects funded through ASTF were of questionable benefit. (according to alaskalegislature.com)

Only one of AADC’s eight launches required the use of the tower (2001); at this time, no future launches requiring the tower have been announced.

When concern was expressed about the severe rust and corrosion evident after the tower was opened, AADC officials assured us that they were preparing to deal with the problem. It has been more than eight months since the last launch at the complex. The tower itself was completed in 1999.

The remaining infrastructure of the KLC cost around 50 million dollars, funded by various branches of the military and the Department of Defense.

In its seven years of launches, Alaska Aerospace Development Corporation, a state owned and operated corporation, has never earned enough money from launches to cover KLC operating costs. The shortfall has been made up by federal funding.

It seems fitting that the day of the open house was the smokiest in Kodiak’s history, making it difficult to get a clear view of the entire facility.

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