Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

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Location: Brunswick, ME, United States

The collapsing US military & economic empire is making Washington & NATO even more dangerous. US could not beat the Taliban but thinks it can take on China-Russia-Iran...a sign of psychopathology for sure. We must all do more to help stop this western corporate arrogance that puts the future generations lives in despair. @BruceKGagnon

Thursday, February 10, 2022

Jobs issue update from Kodiak, Alaska


I asked my long-time contact in Kodiak, Alaska to give me an update on the number of jobs being created there since the establishment of the spaceport 25 years ago. Kodiak is a pristine environment known for bears, eagles and salmon. 

Maine legislative sponsor of the bill to create 'Maine Space Authority' Sen. Daughtry (D-Brunswick) testified on February 8 at the state capital saying, 'Millions & millions & millions of $$$ into states who have done this. 3.5 - 4.5 thousand jobs potentially, maybe $1.5 billion impact on our state. And will improve our infrastructure issues around internet'.



Well, the Kodiak launch site has produced very few full-time jobs in over 20 years, other than janitorial person and site watchman/security.  In between launches there is hardly any activity out at the site.  

From the beginning, the launch site was promoted as being economically good for Kodiak but since the Alaska Aerospace Corporation (AAC) is a state agency located on state land, it does not pay any taxes whatsoever to the Kodiak Borough. There are a handful of businesses who make money sporadically such as hotels, rental car company, restaurants, etc. when people come to town for a launch but otherwise the launch site has done nothing to help local residents as a whole, such as keeping property taxes lower, etc.  On the other hand, residents lost access to areas of prime state land and having to look at more and more fenced off areas with every new launch pad.

What started out as 1 launch tower/pad has now turned into 8 launch pads. The AAC leases out launch pads to the launch companies (Astra Space, ABL Space) and also sub-leases a section of state land to ‘Space X‘ for its radar tracking system, but Kodiak Borough gets no profits from any of that.  The state of Alaska has not seen any profits from launch operations either in over 20 years.

In the beginning the state put up a large amount of money to help build the launch site and the Alaska Aerospace Corporation was supposed to pay the state back in dividends once the site was up and running but the state has not seen one dime back in dividends in over 20 years.  The state finally stopped giving funding to the launch site some years ago because it was not profitable and state was not getting any returns for its investment.

If it were not for U.S. Government funding the Kodiak launch site could not stay afloat.  For FY 2022 Congress approved a total of $11 million funding to the Alaska Aerospace Corporation (AAC) and then the AAC applied for a government ‘stimulus’ grant for another $2 million.  I don’t see how the state of Maine can possibly afford to support launch sites unless the U.S. Government (Air Force, MDA, Space Force, etc.) fully funds them.

The supposedly ‘private’ launch companies that have launched from Kodiak all receive federal/military funding, including Astra Space.  I read a news article recently that said Astra Space is looking to build more launch pads in other areas, so perhaps it is looking in your direction(?). 

By the way, Astra Space has another launch scheduled from Kodiak between Feb 20-27.  Then, ABL Space is scheduling its first launch from Kodiak the end of March.  It was supposed to launch in January but the FCC did not approve its license because of a noncompliance with radio frequency, so ABL submitted a new application and is waiting for FCC approval.  These launch companies think they can come to Kodiak and do whatever the heck they want and no one will be the wiser.

Hopefully your state doesn’t fall for all the ‘good for the economy’ ‘BS’ talk like Alaska did 25 years ago.

Take Care—
Carolyn Heitman


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