The Kodiak Launch Complex isn’t located in the most accessible part of the island. It’s more than 35 miles of winding, two-lane highway from the nearest shipping port in Women’s Bay, and another five miles from the Kodiak Benny Benson State Airport. When equipment comes in, especially large equipment for a launch, the road is often completely shut down for many hours to allow safe transport. This is why Alaska Aerospace Corporation, which operates the state-owned launch complex, is looking to build a barge landing site at the head of Ugak Bay in Pasagshak.
The launch complex has been operating for about 16 years and Alaska Aerospace’s Chief Operating Officer, Mark Greby, said they expect to do more launches in the future. He said the plan to build a barge landing will make operations much simpler, and safer for both AAC and the general public.
“It helps us offload and transfer large equipment from the Kodiak port and harbor, including the equipment and the launch vehicles themselves. By making the move simpler we block the road less, we expose fewer people to the transportation risk caused by blocking the roadway during the long transit to Kodiak Launch Complex. We actually fill the road, you can’t even get off on the shoulder some of the transporters are so big.”
Greby said it’s also a significant cost reduction for AAC and its customers.
“And whenever we can reduce cost, the more attractive we are to our customers, the more business you get. The cost of a move today, from the port all the way to Kodiak, per trip, is about $100,000 with all equipment, permits, notifications, closings, road guards, etc.”
He said the proposed landing, which is currently being reviewed by the Army Corps of Engineers, would cater to standard barges, so goods could be delivered right to the head of the bay, less than four miles from the complex. It wouldn’t be a dock, which Greby said is significantly more difficult to build.
“It’s a rock pier with a roadway put on top of it. That’s all we’re talking about here.”