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Aug 26 2014
Talk of Closing KLC 'Premature,' says Campbell PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 26 August 2014

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    In the aftermath of yesterday morning’s rocket explosion at the Kodiak Launch Complex, calls for the facility’s closure have resumed. Never universally popular among Kodiak residents, the KLC has had only one launch in the past three years, yesterday’s, and that blew up, causing what appears to be significant damage to the launch tower and assembly buildings. According to Alaska Aerospace CEO Craig Campbell, there are currently no other launches scheduled.
    However, Campbell says it would be premature to conclude that yesterday’s explosion and ensuing damage would bring an end to the Kodiak Launch Complex.
    In an e-mail to KMXT, Campbell said a damage assessment and repair estimate will be made over the next week, and that the AAC’s legal counsel and the state’s risk management office will be looking into who is liable for the damages. The U.S. Army leased the Kodiak Launch Complex for $5-million to test its hypersonic glider. Campbell said it’s his intention that AAC “will remain a viable aerospace company for the state of Alaska.”
    Formed by the state of Alaska, the AAC has depended heavily on state subsidies, but Campbell said the corporation has no intention to ask the state for capital improvement funds to repair the explosion damage to the Kodiak Launch Complex.
    No official photos of the damage at the KLC or debris surrounding it on Narrow Cape have been released. However an aerial photo taken by Kodiak’s Eric Schwantes and posted to Facebook shows extensive superficial damage to both the launch tower and assembly buildings at the launch site. Hundreds of scraps of sheets metal siding can be seen strewn around the structures. The extent of structural damage is not yet known. No damage to the launch control buildings two miles away has been reported.
    In an e-mail to KMXT yesterday evening, Alaska Aerospace’s Senior Vice President Mark Greby said road closure restrictions have been moved back. KMXT had reported that yesterday, but the Alaska Department of Transportation later announced the road would be closed at the mouth of the Pasagshak River, before it goes up the bluff. That changed at 9 o’clock last night, when the closure was moved back to the gates of the Kodiak Launch Complex, allowing access to Surfer Beach. Fossil Beach remains inaccessible.
    In what is likely to be a well attended and lively meeting, Campbell said the corporation’s board of directors will be meeting in Kodiak on Thursday.

 
Aug 25 2014
St. Mary's Celebrates 60 Years PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 25 August 2014

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           The 2014/2015 school year is off and running. This week marks the first full week of classes for most schools, including St. Mary’s Catholic School. St. Mary’s was founded in Kodiak in 1954 and this year marks its 60th anniversary. KMXT’s Brianna Gibbs stopped by the school yesterday and spoke with Principal Brian Cleary to see how the year is going.

 

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Aug 25 2014
Afternoon Update - KLC Rocket Explosion PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 25 August 2014

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    The Narrow Cape area beyond the Kodiak Launch Complex will remain closed to the public until further notice after this morning’s rocket explosion, according to an announcement from the Alaska Aerospace Corporation.
    Pentagon spokeswoman Maureen Schumann said the U.S. Army rocket self-destructed just four seconds into its flight, at about 12:25 this (Monday) morning.
    “Shortly after 4 a.m. EDT, the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command, as part of the Defense Department's Conventional Prompt Global Strike technology development program, conducted a flight test of the Advanced Hypersonic Weapon from the Kodiak Launch Complex in Alaska,” she said. “Due to an anomaly, the test was terminated near the launch pad shortly after lift-off to ensure public safety. There were no injuries to any personnel. Program officials are conducting an extensive investigation to determine the cause of the flight anomaly.”
    It was the first launch at the KLC in three years.
    Alaska Aerospace CEO Craig Campbell said he couldn’t verify where debris from the rocket came down, but Schumann said it was her understanding that the debris is limited to KLC property and did not fall into the water. The three-stage solid-fuel rocket is based on refurbished Polaris intercontinental ballistic missiles.
    Campbell said it did not appear, from a preliminary estimate, that there was any extensive damage to the Kodiak Launch Complex, but said AAC and Department of Defense personnel will be doing damage assessments all day.
    Kodiak resident Stacy Studebaker, who owns a home in nearby Pasagshak, has long been a critic of the Kodiak Launch Complex. She said in an e-mail to KMXT that she wanted to know what kind of hazards any un-burnt rocket fuel posed and who will be conducting the clean up. Two popular recreation areas are adjacent to the KLC, Fossil Beach, which remains off-limits, and Surfer Beach.
    In the nosecone of the rocket was the Army’s Advanced Hypersonic Weapon, which is a rocket-launched glider capable of flying at over 3,500 mph, or Mach 5. According to the Army’s description, the small craft is designed to be lofted nearly into space before separation and then glide through the atmosphere to its target at hypersonic speeds. If developed, it is expected to be able to hit any target on earth within an hour or less with conventional, non-nuclear explosives.
    This was to be the second test of the glider. Its target was the Kwajalein Atoll in the South Pacific. The first was successfully launched from Hawaii.
    Scott Wight, a Kodiak photographer, was watching the launch from Cape Greville in Chiniak, about a dozen miles from the launch site. He said even at that distance the explosion was very loud.    Another photographer at Cape Greville said the launch looked out of control and that she wasn’t surprised to find out it self-destructed. She said the resulting fire burned brightly for a short while.
    The Kodiak Launch Complex is about 25-miles from the city of Kodiak.

 
Aug 25 2014
KLC Rocket Explosion Update PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 25 August 2014

Jay Barrett/KMXT
    The rocket carrying an experimental army strike weapon exploded seconds after take off from the Kodiak Launch Complex at about 12:25 this (Monday) morning. Witnesses report the rocket lifted off, but soon nosed down and either self-destructed or hit the ground and exploded.
    Pentagon spokeswoman Maureen Schumann explains that operators were forced to press the self-destruct button.
    “Due to an anomaly, the test was terminated near the launch pad shortly after lift-off to ensure public safety.  There were no injuries to any personnel," Schumann said. "Program officials are conducting an extensive investigation to determine the cause of the flight anomaly.”
    Scott Wight, a Kodiak photographer, was watching the launch from Cape Greville in Chiniak, about a dozen miles from the launch site. He said even at that distance the explosion was quite loud and a scary sight to see.
    Another photographer at Cape Greville said the launch looked out of control and that she wasn’t surprised to find out it was detonated from mission control. She said the resulting fire burned brightly for a short while.
    At the nose of the rocket was the Army’s Advanced Hypersonic Weapon, which is a rocket-launched glider. According to the Army’s environmental impact statement, the small craft is designed to be lofted to near space before diving deeper into the atmosphere to glide to its target, the Kwajalein Atoll in the South Pacific at speeds over 3,500 mph.
    The Kodiak Launch Complex is about 25-miles from the city of Kodiak.
    This is a developing story, and we’ll have more information as it becomes available.

 
Aug 25 2014
Army Rocket Explodes at Kodiak Launch Complex PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 25 August 2014

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The explosion of an Army rocket at the Kodiak Launch Complex at about 12:25 Monday morning. Scott Wight photo

 

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    The rocket carrying an experimental army strike weapon exploded seconds after take off from the Kodiak Launch Complex at about 12:25 this (Monday) morning. Witnesses report the rocket lifted off, but soon nosed down and either self-destructed or hit the ground and exploded.
    There has been no comment from the Alaska Aerospace Corporation or the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command.
    Scott Wight, a Kodiak photographer, was watching the launch from Cape Greville in Chiniak, about a dozen miles from the launch site. He said even at that distance the explosion was quite loud and a scary sight to see.
    Another photographer at Cape Greville said the launch looked out of control and that she wouldn’t be surprised to find out it was detonated from mission control. She said the resulting fire burned brightly for a short while.
    At the nose of the rocket was the Army’s Advanced Hypersonic Weapon, which is a rocket-launched glider. According to the Army’s environmental impact statement, the small craft is designed to be lofted to near space before diving deeper into the atmosphere to glide to its target, the Kwajalein Atoll in the South Pacific at speeds over 3,500 mph.
    The Kodiak Launch Complex is about 25-miles from the city of Kodiak.
    This is a developing story, and we’ll have more information as it becomes available.

 
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