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Alaska Selects Lockheed Martin for Medium-Lift Launch Deal

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
December 14, 2014
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Athena rocket

Athena rocket

Alaska Aerospace Corporation has selected Lockheed Martin to launch medium-lift rockets from the Kodiak Launch Complex:

Lockheed Martin beat out three other bidders to reconfigure launch pad one at the Kodiak site, officials with the Alaska Aerospace Corp. said during a news conference in Anchorage.

“It’s is a great day,” said Craig Campbell, the corporation’s CEO and president. “It’s what we’ve been trying to achieve for a number of years. And we’re at the point now, we’re at the cusp of being able to really expand our operation and do the stuff that Alaskans have always wanted.”

The Kodiak facility is capable of launching small rockets, but the more lucrative market is with medium-sized rockets, which have larger payloads and go into higher orbits.

Lockheed Martin’s proposal calls for modifications to the launch pad so its Athena IIS rocket and other medium-lift rockets can be launched from the site. The goal is to have three launches by 2020.

The Athena IIS is an all-solid fuel launch vehicle capable of launching up to 3,000 kg into sun-synchronous orbit. It is an upgraded version of the Athena rocket that was launched seven times with five successes before being mothballed.

Lockheed Martin is working with ATK to bring back the Athena booster for small and medium payloads.