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Alaska satellite launch for Naval research project set for September at Kodiak facility

Posted: August 28, 2011 - 9:28pm

KODIAK — A research satellite is set to be launched from the Kodiak Launch Complex on Sept. 27.

The Kodiak Daily Mirror reports the satellite is a Naval Research Laboratory project that has been in the works for several years.

Naval Research Laboratory spokesman Tim Duffy says the satellite is smaller than a typical military satellite, weighing in at just under 1,000 pounds.

Duffy says the satellite is designed to be effective at high latitudes and in mountains, unlike most satellite communications systems.

There are no current plans to launch additional satellites of the model.

“We’re hoping once we show the utility of these there will be more interest,” Duffy said.

Dale Nash with the Alaska Aerospace Corp. called the satellite an innovative approach.

“We hope there’s great results out of this,” he said.

The September launch calls for using a Minotaur IV rocket, used by the Air Force to deliver nuclear weapons. It is set to take place between 7:49 a.m. and 8:56 a.m.

The last missile launch from the Kodiak complex occurred in November 2010 and involved sending small satellites to orbit.

The planned launch was discussed at a meeting last week of the Alaska Aerospace Corporation board of directors.

The board also heard details of a tentative proposal by aerospace companies Lockheed and ATK to launch a rocket every fall from the complex.

The companies want to offer universities, countries and private groups an opportunity to launch satellites in orbit.

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