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Can former lieutenant governor launch Alaska Aerospace into profit?

Alaska Aerospace Corp. photo

Craig Campbell, who for a moment served as Alaska's lieutenant governor, has been unanimously appointed as chief executive of the Alaska Aerospace Corp., according to a public statement from board chairman Pat Gamble.

Prior to serving as lieutenant governor in the wake of former Gov. Sarah Palin's resignation, Campbell oversaw the Alaska National Guard as commissioner of the state Department of Military and Veteran Affairs. Campbell has served as interim Aerospace Corp. CEO since July, according to the statement.

The Aerospace Corp. was created by state statute in 1991 to invent an "aerospace industry" in Alaska yet functions as a wholly private entity.

Alaska Aerospace operates a launching complex on Kodiak Island in the northern Gulf of Alaska. A successful rocket launch last fall (see video) saved the corporation from being lampooned on Alaska Dispatch's list of state-financed boondoggles, but it is a perennial contender. Whether or not the launch facility makes the next list will largely depend on Lockheed Martin, which is considering Kodiak as one of several launch sites from which to send satellites into space.

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Gov. Sean Parnell has lately requested $32 million in state funding to build a new launch pad at the Kodiak complex that would be able to service the Lockheed project.

Since its inception in 1998, Kodiak has launched 16 orbital and suborbital missions, and placed 10 satellites into orbit. The complex has received about $270 million in federal funds.

Campbell is just the man to make it all happen, according to Gamble's statement:

"Craig brings a strong combination of entrepreneurship and leadership to Alaska Aerospace Corporation at precisely the time in the growth of the company that we need it. The future for Alaska Aerospace in the space launch world is bright and the Board agreed that Craig will take us there." 

Contact Eric Christopher Adams at eric(at)alaskadispatch.com