Alaska Aerospace Touts Financial Benefit to State

Jacob Resneck, KMXT – Kodiak

The Alaska Aerospace Development Corporation says its business could generate $250 million in annual revenue by 2018. That’s according to an economic report it commissioned from the McDowell Group. The 28-page report paints a rosy picture projecting cumulative direct and indirect economic impacts of the corporation’s successful expansion into the areas of missile defense, larger and more frequent rocket launches and the operation of unmanned drones on behalf of state agencies.

Aerospace Corporation CEO Dale Nash says other states have seen the value in investing in their own spaceports.

The report comes at a time that the state-owned corporation admits to a $10 million shortfall in operating funds. Governor Sean Parnell has earmarked $4 million in his capital budget for the corporation.  And a request for another $4 million has been put to state lawmakers. Chief Operating Officer Craig Campbell says he’s optimistic the state would come through with both budget items this year.

In addition, the corporation is also seeking a multi-million investment from the state to invest in larger, medium-lift rockets.  But Campbell says they will look at that possibility later.  A big part of the economic study focuses on that sort of upgrade.

The corporation hit the financial skids when its lucrative Missile Defense Agency contract expired last year. Campbell says federal funding is expected, although the current impasse in Congress has added to the corporation’s difficulties. Campbell says state funding is now a necessary stop-gap while he and others lobby Congress.

The last launch at the Kodiak Launch Complex was a $170 million joint mission last November involving the U.S. Air Force and NASA. Another Air Force military satellite is scheduled in May though the precise date depends on the timing of a similar mission on the East Coast, says Campbell.

The corporation has already submitted a bid with private partner Lockheed Martin for a $5 billion Missile Defense Agency ground-based defense contract at For Greely. The contract is expected to be awarded in coming months.

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