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Proving Poker Flat.

The Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority awarded Design Alaska Inc. of Fairbanks a $132,715 contract to analyze the feasibility of creating a commercial orbital satellite launch system at the Poker Flat Research Range near Fairbanks. Design Alaska, an architectural, engineering and surveying firm founded in 1957, has three subcontractors on the project: KPMG Peat Marwick, business/financial planning; Denver-based United Engineers & Contractors, aerospace engineering; and MicroSat Launch Systems of Herndon, Va., legal/regulatory analysis.

In contracting for the study, the authority is acting in cooperation with other state agencies and on behalf of the newly created Alaska Aerospace Development Corp. The "spaceport authority," as it is called, was established by the Alaska Legislature this spring to develop a commercial space industry in Alaska.

AIDEA also signed a contract with the Geophysical Institute of University of Alaska Fairbanks, to provide technical and professional reviews of Design Alaska's work. Design Alaska's products are to be submitted by mid-November.

Poker Flat is a suborbital launch facility operated by the Geophysical Institute. Before it could be used for commercial orbital satellite launches, repairs and upgrades would be required. Miniature satellites are used for minerals mapping, environmental monitoring, telecommunications, research and other applications.

A polar orbit can be achieved easily from Alaska because of the state's proximity to the North Pole. The anticipated launch vehicles weigh about 30,000 pounds, though 50,000 pound vehicles also will be considered in the feasibility study. The existing launcher has a 20,000 pound limit and would be incapable of transporting and positioning larger rocket motors. Depending on the launch rate, two or three launchers may be required.
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Title Annotation:feasibility study contract for a satellite launch system at Poker Flat Research Range in Alaska awarded to Design Alaska Inc.
Publication:Alaska Business Monthly
Date:Oct 1, 1991
Previous Article:Regulations revised.
Next Article:Prospecting for the top 49.

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