- Associated Press - Friday, April 22, 2016

KODIAK, Alaska (AP) - Federal officials have cleared the way for the installation of a new launch pad at the Pacific Spaceport Complex in Kodiak, but the future of the project remains uncertain due to a lack of funding.

The Federal Aviation Administration has released its final assessment of the project, determining that the medium-lift launch pad “will not significantly affect the quality of the human environment,” said FAA environmental specialist Stacey Zee in an email.

The environmental assessment had been ordered after the state allocated $25 million for the project in 2013. The funding was put on hold the following year, and Alaska Aerospace Corp., which operates the complex, returned $22 million to the state. The remaining $2.3 million sits unused.

“This took a little longer because it’s a very different mission that we’re going to be doing down there if we get to proceed with it,” said Craig Campbell, CEO of Alaska Aerospace Corp. “It includes liquid fuel, as well as solid fuel, so the FAA did their due diligence in making sure the public and the agencies had adequate time to review it and comment, so it’s not surprising.”

The launch pad will increase the complex’s capacity to launch heavier rockets. The project also includes a rocket staging facility, a liquid fuel facility and a mission control center, The Kodiak Daily Mirror reported (https://bit.ly/1VorEFo).

Campbell, who has advocated for privatizing AAC, said the company is looking for funding elsewhere to ensure the facility stays up to date with the changing aerospace industry.

“We are interested in expanding into the medium-lift market if there are customers there that could provide the funding to make it earn money. That hasn’t materialized to date,” he said.

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Information from: Kodiak (Alaska) Daily Mirror, https://www.kodiakdailymirror.com


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