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9:39 PM Sun, Dec. 16th

Arizona space company plans first Kodiak launch

An aerial view of Alaska's Pacific Spaceport Complex. Tucson-based Vector Launch Inc. is planning its first commercial rocket launch at the Kodiak complex. The company has informed the Federal Communications Commission of its plans to test its Vector-R rocket by April 2019. (Alaska Aerospace Corp.)

An aerial view of Alaska's Pacific Spaceport Complex. Tucson-based Vector Launch Inc. is planning its first commercial rocket launch at the Kodiak complex. The company has informed the Federal Communications Commission of its plans to test its Vector-R rocket by April 2019. (Alaska Aerospace Corp.)

KODIAK, Alaska — Vector Launch Inc. is planning a commercial rocket launch at the Pacific Spaceport Complex, its first launch at the Alaska facility.

The company based in Tucson, Arizona, informed the Federal Communications Commission of its plans, which aims to test its Vector-R rocket by April 2019, the Kodiak Daily Mirror reported Tuesday.

"Vector is aiming to meet its goal of achieving the first orbital attempt of its Vector-R rocket," said Shaun Coleman, the company's chief sales and marketing officer.

The two-stage rocket would not carry a payload during the launch, Coleman said. A little over two minutes after launch, the stages would separate and land off the coast of Kodiak.

The flight is expected to last less than 10 minutes, and the maximum operating time should be less than 3 hours from launch activities.

"This is an absolute worst-case estimate as operating longer than 30 to 60 minutes may require shut down of the transmitters due to thermal concerns," the document states.

Vector plans to conduct more launches from Kodiak Island if the test is successful, Coleman said.

"Part of Vector's strategy is to launch from multiple sites, not exclusively from Kodiak," Coleman said. "Within a few years, Vector envisions launches from Kodiak, as well as Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, and Wallops Island in Virginia to name a few."

Vector has previously conducted various tests in Kodiak to prepare for a launch, said Craig Campbell, CEO of Alaska Aerospace Corporation.

"They've been up here twice, doing pathfinders, bringing the rocket up and doing all the steps leading up to a launch," Campbell said.