Kodiak Launch Complex Upgrade Caught in Spending Freeze

alaska_aerospace_corpFacing a $3.5 billion budget shortfall due to the falling cost of oil, Alaska Gov. Bill Walker has ordered work stopped on a handful of major construction projects.

On Friday, Walker issued an administrative order that directs “state agencies to halt to the maximum extent possible discretionary expenditures” for the Ambler Road Project, Juneau Access Project, Susitna-Watana Dam Project, Kodiak Launch Complex, Knik Arm Crossing and Alaska Stand-Alone Pipeline Project.

Kodiak Launch Complex: The state-owned spaceport in Kodiak was damaged by a rocket explosion in August. Alaska Aerospace, the state-owned corporation that operates the spaceport, announced earlier this month that it plans to rebuild its main launch pad to support larger rockets, at a cost of $6 million to $9 million.

The upgrades to the launch paid would accommodate Lockheed Martin’s medium-lift Athena IIS rocket.

Read the full story.

Update: Jeff Foust reports that officials are continuing repairs at the spaceport that resulted from an earlier launch failure. Those repairs are covered by insurance. They are also consulting with the governor’s office on whether the Lockheed Martin agreement is covered by the spending freeze. Compared with many of the other projects affected, this is a relatively low expenditure.