The Alaska Aerospace Corporation will lose its only contractor in August but it’s not yet the end of the road for Kodiak’s missile launch site. AAC is the recipient of a multi-million dollar appropriation from the state and has scheduled launches with the Air Force in September.
Governor Sean Parnell recently announced his version of the state budget which included four million dollars to keep AAC alive after it lost its sole contract with the U.S. Missile Defense Agency. Four million dollars is the price of keeping the site open for a year while AAC looks for new contracts.
When AAC CEO Dale Nash spoke to the Kodiak Island Borough Assembly recently he mentioned that NASA is a potential source for future business. It’s since been announced that NASA will be one of many participants in a launch that will take place this fall.
NASA is currently getting ready to ship something called a "FAST-SAT" to Kodiak. NASA spokeswoman Kim Newton explained what that is.
— (Kodiak Launch 1 :41 "NASA just completed … low earth orbit.)
What Newton called a "microsatellite-class spacecraft bus" looks nothing like a bus. It doesn’t look much like a satellite either.
— (Kodiak Launch 2 :44 "I would guess … that turn off.")
The FAST-SAT is part of a new direction that NASA is taking. The creation of the spacecraft bus was carried out quickly and cheaply, costing thousands of dollars instead of millions. Another innovation is that the experiments travelling aboard FAST-SAT originate from different agencies as Newton explains.
— (Kodiak Launch 3 :52 "If you were…science into orbit.")
The FAST-SAT was designed, developed and tested at the Marshall Space Center. Its scheduled to be included as part of a Department of Defense Space Test Program which will launch on September 1st.