Two rockets to go up from Kodiak this year, three next

Posted: Tuesday, March 27, 2001

KODIAK (AP) -- Kodiak will see two more rocket launches this year and at least three next year, according to Pat Ladner of the Alaska Aerospace Development Corp.

All those are military projects, but Ladner says he's working on some commercial prospects.

The two launches remaining for this year will feature larger rockets than the Air Force Quick Reaction Launch Vehicle fired from the Kodiak Launch Complex last Thursday.

The first is a suborbital Army launch scheduled for June 12.

Then on Aug. 31, the facility is set for its first orbital launch, an Air Force project that will put take four small satellites into space. The rocket will be a Lockheed Martin Athena 1.

The June rocket is the first of a series of Kodiak launches by an Army Strategic Targets Program to simulate incoming enemy rockets. Recycled and modified Polaris (submarine) missiles are being used. The 38-foot three-stage rockets, weighing 36,750 pounds, use a two-stage Polaris rocket modified with a specially designed third stage.

The Army has 20 of the solid fuel rockets, and plans to fire as may as five a year from Kodiak.

The Aug. 31 launch is a collaborative effort of the Air Force and National Aeronautics and Space Administration. That mission will put the ''Kodiak Star,'' a NASA satellite, and three Defense Department satellites into orbit, according to NASA.

The Kodiak Star is a 200-pound spacecraft about three feet in diameter and covered with aluminum mirrors. Students from Alaska, Canada, Scandinavia and Russia will track the satellite and report findings to the project's Web site.

The three defense satellites include a technology demonstration spacecraft built in Britain, a communications satellite built by students of the Naval Academy and a microsatellite built by students from Stanford and Washington universities to test infrared sensors.

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