Skip to comments.Alaskan spaceport to host secretive commercial launch
Posted on 03/21/2018 5:07:55 PM PDT by Elderberry
An Alaskan spaceport will host the first launch of a rocket developed by a stealthy startup company as soon as next week, spaceport officials confirmed March 20.
Alaska Aerospace Corp., which operates Pacific Spaceport Complex Alaska (PSCA) on Kodiak Island, said the launch period for the flight of the unidentified vehicle runs from March 27 to April 6. It did not specify when during the day the launch would take place.
A Local Notice to Mariners issued by the U.S. Coast Guard March 14 included a notice about a rocket launch planned from PSCA, giving a window of March 26 to April 6. The notice included two caution areas, one in waters immediately south of the spaceport and the other several hundred kilometers to the south-southwest, that mariners should stay clear of during launch operations.
The spaceport is releasing few details about the launch itself. I can only say PSCA is conducting a launch operation called P120 and it is a commercial California company, said Barry King, director of range operations for Alaska Aerospace, in a March 20 email. No other details can be provided until after launch.
King did state that the launch would be suborbital and that, being a commercial launch, would require a launch license from the Federal Aviation Administrations Office of Commercial Space Transportation. No launch licenses for any vehicles operating from Alaska are included on a publicly available list of active licenses maintained by the FAA, although it is not uncommon for such licenses to be issued shortly before a scheduled launch.
A local newspaper, the Kodiak Daily Mirror, also reported the launch plans, but gave a launch window of April 6-13, a timeframe stated in an earlier Coast Guard notice superseded by the March 14 notice.
(Excerpt) Read more at spacenews.com ...
Why launch a rocket from such a northern latitiude? The rocket does not get as much added velocity from the Earth’s rotation as, say, launching from Florida or nearer the equator.
Suborbital launch, they may not care. Might be an ABM test? Who knows?
That’s what I was wondering. It seems wasteful.
Being suborbital, and the Notice To Mariners for an area south/southwest of the launch site indicates it is a polar orbit shot and will splash down in the Pacific several hundred miles downrange south/southwest of launch site.
You launch from where you can get the permits! :-)
Well, I'm not a rocket scientist but my unprofessional guess is that since permits are required for virtually every endeavor in this country, Alaska is likely charging the less.......
A cheaper permit cost is offset by more expensive fuel costs and a reduction in payload size for every orbital launch.
The only advantage of a high-latitude launch site is if one has clients who want their satellites put into polar, near polar, or retrograde orbits.
For highly inclined orbits it is advantageous to launch from high latitudes
First launching of the “Household Atomics”?
Awfully close to Russia.
Close to North Korea as well, which is interesting.
And yes, it would take more fuel launching that way, you lose 1000 mph, but you can see what's going on at the poles.
The cofounder of the Vector rocket company, James Cantrell, said this week that he is 100 percent confident that his Vector-R vehicle will launch this year. This launch will occur from the Kodiak Launch Complex in Alaska, carrying a payload of two PocketQube satellites and an Alba Orbital deployer.
"My confidence level is 100 percent," Cantrell said during a telephone interview with Ars on Thursday. "Not to pick on them, but we don't work on SpaceX schedules. We can't afford to run a business like that. We're not giving you schedules that we know we can't live with."
Vector has completed the first successful flight test of its new micro rocket
The company's two-stage Vector-R launcher (the R stands for "rapid") uses three LP-1 engines to lift the rocket off the pad, and it can deploy a payload with a maximum of 66kg into orbit. A later variant, the Vector-H (heavy), will have the capacity to deploy up to 110kg into space.
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