Alaska space business shows signs of liftoff after long period of setbacks

PHOTO: NASA's unmanned SpaceX rocket explodes at start of ISS cargo supply mission, Photo Date: 6/28/15 - Photo: NASA / MGN
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JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - Once close to death, Alaska's foray into the space business is showing signs of liftoff.

The state-owned Alaska Aerospace Corp. suffered a big setback in 2014 when a rocket exploded after takeoff, damaging corporation launch facilities on Kodiak Island. This coincided with a worsening state deficit and diminished appetite by some in the state to keep funding it.

But the corporation has rebuilt its launch site, secured new business and lined up launches for this year and next. Corporation CEO Craig Campbell says the corporation has rebounded.

State Rep. Scott Kawasaki, a frequent corporation critic, says his frustration is that the corporation hasn't moved quickly enough.

Still, the Fairbanks Democrat said he's willing to give the corporation time to prove itself amid a changing industry.