The Alaska Aerospace Corporation launched a subsidiary, Aurora Launch Services, which will focus on providing support for customers to launch vehicles with smaller satellite payloads into orbit.
And, it will also be cheaper, says Craig Campbell, President and CEO of AAC, because they won’t use state employees anymore, instead hiring contractors for services on demand.
“Now, you’re only paying for the launch services when you need the launch services,” said Campbell. “So, one of the problems we’ve had in the past, or one of the costs we’ve had in the past, has been keeping a large employee force paid on payroll, even when we had no launches. Now you’re only paying for the launch services when you have a customer that is going to launch from your facilities.”
He says the company is wholly owned by AAC. After its 2014 launch failure, the corporation went two years without a launch and laid off many employees, but Campbell says, now, business is coming back.
“The best way to now be able to address the business that we’re getting is to just pay by the drink,” said Campbell. “Bring on the people you need for the launch time that you need them and not have to pay them year round. It also is an opportunity to provide more Alaskans jobs and specifically for people that live in Kodiak.”
Most jobs will be in launch operations or facility maintenance, says Campbell. There will be a handful of full-time employees and the number of part-time employees will be flexible and determined by contracts.
He says that the corporation hopes to continue range and telemetry services for a New Zealand launch site as well as add an equatorial launch site in Hawaii or the Mariana Islands in order to offer both polar and equatorial launches.
John Cramer will serve serve as the subsidiary’s president. He says there is no other company that will be able to do what Aurora will do.
“The subsidiary will be able to provide launch services to any customer anywhere in the world to be able to bring in a team to launch their vehicles,” said Cramer.
Cramer said that Aurora should fully operational within the year, and he adds that they could hire their first employees over the next couple of months.