U.S. Alaska state-owned aerospace company to make first commercial rocket launch

Updated 2018-03-23 15:59:06 Xinhua

An aerospace company owned by the U.S. northwest state of Alaska will conduct its first commercial rocket launch in the coming weeks, a local daily newspaper reported Thursday.

The Alaska Aerospace Corporation (Alaska Aerospace), based in Anchorage, plans to test-launch a commercial rocket from its Pacific Spaceport Complex on Kodiak Island in a couple of weeks, the Anchorage Daily News said.

The launch of the rocket, which will not carry a satellite or go into orbit, will be used to test the rocket and gather data for its improvement, the newspaper quoted John Cramer, chief of staff at Alaska Aerospace as saying.

Cramer declined to specify the owner of the rocket, only saying it is "a new space company" from California.

"When new launch companies start up, they're going to have a number of launches that are tests for the vehicle," Cramer said. "They'll gather just volumes of data to perfect the vehicle to be able to then launch non-test vehicles for payloads."

Launches from the Kodiak site are always unmanned, because the facility is not capable of conducting manned flights, Cramer said.

Since 1998, Alaska Aerospace has hosted 19 launches from Kodiak, except a failed one in 2014, he said, but all of those were government-related.

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