Last week two members of the Alaska House urged Governor Bill Walker to sell off the Kodiak Launch Complex as part of the austerity measures to reduce state spending in light of plummeting oil prices. There has been no comment from Walker on the idea, proposed by Representatives Les Gara and Scott Kawasaki, Democrats from Anchorage and Fairbanks respectively, but Alaska Aerospace Corporation’s budget was zeroed out in the governor’s proposed budget released late last week.
Kodiak Senator Gary Stevens says he isn’t necessarily against the idea, but, “Is anybody interested in buying it? I don’t know. Let’s find that out. Maybe Lockheed or one of the launching companies would be. But at this point that has not been pursued.”
Stevens says that given the amount of investment that has gone into the Kodiak Launch Complex it should be allowed to continue if it still has a chance.
“I guess what I’m concerned about is we’ve put so much money into it, the federal government has put so much money into it, if it can work, you shouldn’t be pulling out of it. I know there’s a lot of opposition to the rocket launch in Kodiak from several folks, but you just can’t walk away from something that a lot of money has been put into.”
One way or another, Stevens says it won’t be long before the future of the Kodiak Launch Complex – and the Alaska Aerospace Corporation – becomes clearer:
“You know there’s a possibility that it will work. We’ll find out in the next few weeks if there’s some contracts. There’s one contract for 2015 to relaunch the rocket that caused the damage. They have received, are receiving the insurance funds to replace, to repair, to put it back to its normal condition. I guess the main issues is, is there some business with a medium size rocket? They’ll have to enlarge the pad on which it sits, and there’ll be some costs there. I think there are some plans, but whether it really works or not, we’ll know soon.”
The suggestion to sell the KLC by Gara and Kawasaki was just that, and was not introduced in the legislature. And as far as Alaska Aerospace’s budget being zeroed out, that was so far only in Governor Walker’s proposed budget. Both the House and Senate will hammer out their version of the spending plan as the session goes on.