Alaska And Hawaii Announce Historic Space Tech Partnership
Brett Smith for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online
They may be America’s youngest states, but Alaska and Hawaii are starting to flex some serious technological muscles through a recently announced joint partnership to develop rocket, satellite and other space exploration equipment and programs.
The Memorandum of Understanding between the Alaska Aerospace Corporation (AAC) -an organization created to allow Alaska to develop an aerospace industry – and the Hawaii Office of Aerospace Development (OAD), the AAC’s Hawaiian counterpart, is designed to take advantage of the two Pacific states’ unique location with respect to the contiguous US. According to the agreement, the two states will collaborate to share designs, train personnel and engage in business and marketing opportunities.
“This agreement provides Alaska with a tremendous opportunity to expand our capabilities to provide aerospace services in a collaborative and cooperative partnership with Hawai’i, as we look for increased opportunities to serve the Pacific Region,” said Craig Campbell, president of the AAC.
“This is the century of the Pacific for the United States. Alaska and Hawaii are geographically situated to provide the most rapid, focused, and cost-effective aerospace services as our nation expands our interests in this region,” Campbell continued. “Alaska Aerospace Corporation owns and operates the nation’s most modern spaceport complex from Kodiak and works closely with the University of Alaska in developing aerospace capabilities.”
“It is our expectation that this new partnership with Hawai’i will significantly increase the interaction between our two states and provide enhanced capabilities for our nation by offering state-of-the-industry solutions within the Pacific Region to both government and commercial customers.”
While Hawaii doesn’t have a conventional spaceport, space rockets could be launched from the Navy’s Pacific Missile Range Facility on the island of Kauai. The range has been used mainly for military purposes until now, but the University of Hawaii is scheduled to launch a small satellite from there soon.
“Hawaii’s strategic mid-Pacific/near-equatorial location, Moon/Mars-like terrain, resident expertise in aerospace-related technologies, and long-standing ties with space-faring nations throughout Asia and the Pacific, afford strategic assets and capabilities that can be leveraged to realize humankind’s full potential in space,” said Jim Crisafulli from the OAD.
“For the past half century, our State has utilized these resources to advance our national space program – beginning with astronaut training for the Apollo lunar missions and the development of world-class observatories on the Big Island, and extended through pioneering programs in planetary geosciences, satellite communications, space-based environmental monitoring, deep-space surveillance, and other areas employing aerospace-related technologies,” Crisafulli continued.
“We wholeheartedly concur with General Campbell that the partnerships enabled through this Memorandum of Understanding will provide unique and timely opportunities to combine our substantial and complementary aerospace resources to expand the frontiers of both next-generation aviation and space exploration.”
The new agreement comes after Hawaiian governor Neil Abercrombie signed a law in June that gave the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism oversight of the state’s space exploration pursuits. After signing the bill into law, the governor released $275,000 in capital improvement funds to map and organize state aerospace projects.
Earlier this year, Alaska and Virginia agreed to share commercial space engineering and technical information.