Legislature(2021 - 2022)BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)

03/17/2021 01:30 PM Senate LABOR & COMMERCE

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Audio Topic
01:30:49 PM Start
01:31:35 PM Presentation(s): Aerospace Day at the Alaska State Capitol
01:37:26 PM Flying to the Future - Building the Foundation for an Unmanned Aircraft Industry in Alaska
01:59:11 PM Aerospace Research and Operations at the Geophysical Institute
02:13:00 PM Alaska Aerospace Corporation Presentation
02:38:34 PM Aerospace States Association
02:53:56 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Presentation - Aerospace Day at the Alaska State TELECONFERENCED
Capitol by:
- Lt. Governor Kevin Meyer
- Dr. Kathy Cahill - Director, Alaska Center for
Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration at UAF
- Dr. Robert McCoy - Director, Geophysical
Institute at UAF
- Mark Lester - CEO, Alaska Aerospace Corporation
- Ross Garelick Bell - Executive Director,
Aerospace States Association
**Streamed live on AKL.tv**
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
          SENATE LABOR AND COMMERCE STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                        
                         March 17, 2021                                                                                         
                           1:30 p.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Senator Mia Costello, Chair                                                                                                     
Senator Roger Holland, Vice Chair                                                                                               
Senator Joshua Revak                                                                                                            
Senator Elvi Gray-Jackson                                                                                                       
Senator Gary Stevens                                                                                                            
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
All members present.                                                                                                            
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
PRESENTATION(S): AEROSPACE DAY AT THE ALASKA STATE CAPITOL                                                                      
FLYING TO THE FUTURE - BUILDING THE FOUNDATION FOR AN UNMANNED                                                                  
AIRCRAFT INDUSTRY IN ALASKA                                                                                                     
     - HEARD                                                                                                                    
AEROSPACE RESEARCH AND OPERATIONS AT THE GEOPHYSICAL INSTITUTE                                                                  
     - HEARD                                                                                                                    
ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE AEROSPACE DAY                                                                                          
     - HEARD                                                                                                                    
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
No previous action to record                                                                                                    
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR KEVIN MEYER                                                                                                 
State of Alaska                                                                                                                 
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT: Introduced Alaska Aerospace Day at the                                                                    
Alaska State Capitol.                                                                                                           
KATHY CAHILL, PhD, Director                                                                                                     
Alaska Center for Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration                                                                         
University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF)                                                                                            
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT: Delivered  a  presentation  on Building  the                                                             
Foundation for an Unmanned Aircraft Industry in Alaska                                                                          
ROBERT MCCOY, PhD, Director                                                                                                     
Geophysical Institute                                                                                                           
University of Alaska Fairbanks                                                                                                  
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT:  Delivered  a presentation  about  Aerospace                                                             
Research and Operations at the UAF Geophysical Institute.                                                                       
MARK LESTER, President and CEO                                                                                                  
Alaska Aerospace Corporation                                                                                                    
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Delivered a presentation on  the work Alaska                                                             
Aerospace Corporation has done to  advance the aerospace industry                                                               
in Alaska.                                                                                                                      
ROSS GARELICK BELL, Executive Director                                                                                          
Aerospace States Association                                                                                                    
Washington, DC                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT: Delivered  a presentation  on the  Aerospace                                                             
States Association.                                                                                                             
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
1:30:49 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR MIA COSTELLO called the  Senate Labor and Commerce Standing                                                             
Committee meeting  to order at 1:30  p.m. Present at the  call to                                                               
order  were  Senators  Gray-Jackson, Revak,  Holland,  and  Chair                                                               
Costello. Senator Stevens arrived during the introduction.                                                                      
^PRESENTATION(S): Aerospace Day at the Alaska State Capitol                                                                     
   PRESENTATION(S): Aerospace Day at the Alaska State Capitol                                                               
1:31:35 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR COSTELLO stated  that the business before  the committee is                                                               
to hear presentations  in celebration of Alaska  Aerospace Day at                                                               
the Alaska State Capitol. She  welcomed Lieutenant Governor Meyer                                                               
to provide the introductions.                                                                                                   
1:32:32 PM                                                                                                                    
LIEUTENANT  GOVERNOR  KEVIN  MEYER,   State  of  Alaska,  Juneau,                                                               
Alaska, expressed appreciation for  the opportunity to talk about                                                               
the aerospace  activities in  the state  and their  importance in                                                               
diversifying the overall economy of the state.                                                                                  
He  advised  that  aerospace includes  rocket  launches,  drones,                                                               
satellites,  and both  military and  general aviation.  It is  an                                                               
emerging industry  with great growth  potential. He  posited that                                                               
after the presentation  the committee would agree  that the state                                                               
should do  what it can  to support  and help this  industry grow.                                                               
Doing so will help the economy and create jobs.                                                                                 
1:33:47 PM                                                                                                                    
At ease                                                                                                                         
1:34:25 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  COSTELLO reconvened  the  meeting  and invited  Lieutenant                                                               
Governor Meyer to continue the introduction.                                                                                    
1:34:39 PM                                                                                                                    
LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR  MEYER advised that the  committee will first                                                               
hear  from  Dr.  Kathy  Cahill from  the  University  of  Alaska,                                                               
Fairbanks (UAF) who  will talk about the emerging  market for and                                                               
use of  drones statewide and  across the world. The  next speaker                                                               
will be  Dr. Robert McCoy  from the Geophysical Institute  at UAF                                                               
who  will talk  about rocket  launches, the  Poker Flat  Research                                                               
Range  outside  of Fairbanks,  and  the  long-term contract  with                                                               
NASA.  The third  speaker will  be  Mark Lester  with the  Alaska                                                               
Aerospace  Corporation  who  will  talk  about  rocket  launches,                                                               
satellites,  and tourism  activities at  the Kodiak  launch site.                                                               
The final speaker  will be Ross Garelick Bell  from the Aerospace                                                               
States Association who  will talk about aerospace  states and the                                                               
new Alaska  Chapter. He  noted that  Senator Stevens  from Kodiak                                                               
and  Representative Hopkins  from Fairbanks  were joining  him as                                                               
co-chairs of the Alaska Chapter.                                                                                                
CHAIR COSTELLO welcomed Dr. Cahill.                                                                                             
^Flying to the  Future - Building the Foundation  for an Unmanned                                                               
Aircraft Industry in Alaska                                                                                                     
 Flying to the Future - Building the Foundation for an Unmanned                                                             
                  Aircraft Industry in Alaska                                                                               
1:37:26 PM                                                                                                                    
KATHY CAHILL, PhD; Director, Alaska  Center for Unmanned Aircraft                                                               
Systems  Integration,  University   of  Alaska  Fairbanks  (UAF),                                                               
Fairbanks, Alaska,  thanked the  committee for the  invitation to                                                               
talk about  unmanned aircraft opportunities  in Alaska.  She said                                                               
UAF is trying  to build the foundation for  this industry because                                                               
it is an opportunity to lead the world.                                                                                         
DR.  CAHILL displayed  a  graphic  of the  parts  of an  unmanned                                                               
aircraft system  (UAS) that includes  the aircraft,  the payload,                                                               
the crew, system integration and  engineering, command & control,                                                               
and  data  link. The  next  slide  depicts  the wide  variety  of                                                               
unmanned aircraft,  most of which  the university either  owns or                                                               
has done  aerospace for. They  helped do aerospace in  Hawaii for                                                               
the 255-foot  wingspan Hawk  30 high-altitude-drone.  The Griffon                                                               
SeaHunter  on  the  bottom  right  of the  slide  has  a  16-foot                                                               
wingspan, weighs 300 pounds, and  has about 12.5 hours endurance.                                                               
It is used to demonstrate uses to the FAA.                                                                                      
1:40:12 PM                                                                                                                    
DR. CAHILL displayed the list of potential UAS missions.                                                                        
       - Cargo delivery to remote communities for medical                                                                       
     supplies and emergency response                                                                                            
       - Infrastructure surveillance for the Trans-Alaska                                                                       
     -  Oil spill  response  including in-situ  remediation.                                                                    
     For  example,  unmanned  aircraft released  a  clumping                                                                    
     agent on  oil spilled in  a test basin and  an aircraft                                                                    
     with a torch lighted the oil.                                                                                              
         - Mammal surveys, fish surveys, and fisheries                                                                          
     compliance with unmanned aircraft.                                                                                         
     - Wildfire response                                                                                                        
     - Search and Rescue                                                                                                        
1:41:20 PM                                                                                                                    
DR.  CAHILL turned  to  slide  5 and  pointed  out that  unmanned                                                               
aircraft can  perform many aviation  missions safely  when manned                                                               
aircraft cannot fly under visual  flight rules, and they are more                                                               
cost effective. She said another  opportunity is for Alaskan kids                                                               
to receive their  education at the University of  Alaska and work                                                               
in the  state in this  high-tech field.  UA is using  and testing                                                               
the technologies to conduct these  operations and is working with                                                               
the Federal Aviation Administration  (FAA) to develop appropriate                                                               
rules,  regulations,  policies,  and   procedures  to  prevent  a                                                               
manned/unmanned aircraft incident.                                                                                              
She  explained  that  the  Alaska   Center  for  UAS  Integration                                                               
(ACUASI) is the University of  Alaska's UAS Center of Excellence.                                                               
The return on  investment in 2021 is estimated to  be about 14:1.                                                               
It is an  opportunity to get outside funding into  the state. The                                                               
challenge  is to  have the  personnel  and capability  to do  the                                                               
work.  Because   of  the   prohibition  against   competing  with                                                               
commercial industry, the university  is laying the foundation and                                                               
is  transitioning  the work  to  industry  users in  Alaska.  She                                                               
listed the missions:                                                                                                            
     - Working with the FAA on the safe integration of the                                                                      
     UAS into the National Airspace System,                                                                                     
     - Supporting Alaskan UAS users and industry, and                                                                           
     - Conducting scientific research.                                                                                          
1:44:20 PM                                                                                                                    
DR. CAHILL displayed a Venn  diagram to illustrate that ACUASI is                                                               
the only  organization in the  country that  is one of  the seven                                                               
FAA UAS Test Sites, one of the  15 core schools in the FAA Center                                                               
of Excellence,  and one of  the eight  FAA Beyond sites.  The FAA                                                               
recognizes ACUASI's expertise, she said.                                                                                        
She explained that  the Beyond program started  to accelerate the                                                               
commercial use  of unmanned aircraft  in the national  air space.                                                               
The pilot  was successful and the  FAA asked US to  continue this                                                               
work  for  four  more  years  to  develop  the  technologies  and                                                               
policies and  procedures for safe implementation.  She pointed to                                                               
the list  of partners in  the Beyond  program listed on  slide 8,                                                               
many of which  are Alaska based or have said  they intend to move                                                               
to Alaska to continue the work.                                                                                                 
DR. CAHILL described the Department  of Transportation and Public                                                               
Facilities (ADOTPF) as a key partner. DOTPF:                                                                                    
- works with the FAA to enhance UAS access to Alaskan airspace                                                                  
-   operates  airports   across  the   state,  facilitating   UAS                                                               
integration  at airports  and providing  ingress and  egress from                                                               
coastal launch sites to permanent areas in the Arctic.                                                                          
- operates  UAS for a  wide variety of  infrastructure monitoring                                                               
use cases                                                                                                                       
1:48:11 PM                                                                                                                    
DR.  CAHILL  reviewed  the  FAA  Center  of  Excellence  for  UAS                                                               
Research (ASSURE) that is centered on safety.                                                                                   
   • Involved in multiple projects focused on:                                                                                  
     - Ensuring safety of cargo operations                                                                                      
     - Minimizing risks from operations at airports                                                                             
     - Safely flying Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) of                                                                     
        the Pilot in Command                                                                                                    
She said the  last safety point is key for  Alaska. Flying beyond                                                               
the visual  line of sight  of the  pilot in command  is essential                                                               
for many missions  in Alaska but almost  impossible under current                                                               
FAA rules and regulations.                                                                                                      
DR. CAHILL  discussed ACUASI's work to  advance unmanned aircraft                                                               
operations with  Transport Canada and the  Canadian equivalent of                                                               
the  FAA. They  have flown  over 20,000  nautical miles  of BVLOS                                                               
flights in  the last four  years. The most important  program has                                                               
been  to advance  the  health  of the  400  North Atlantic  Right                                                               
Whales that  congregate in the Saint  Lawrence Seaway. Artificial                                                               
intelligence is  used onboard the  aircraft to locate  the whales                                                               
in real time to avoid contact with ships transiting the area.                                                                   
She explained  that ACUASI and  its partners are  testing onboard                                                               
and  ground-based detect  and avoid  (DAA) systems  that identify                                                               
aircraft near the  UAS and either alert the UAS  plot to avoid or                                                               
autonomously  move  to  avoid  the aircraft.  She  said  this  is                                                               
essential for opening the state for business.                                                                                   
DR. CAHILL  displayed the image  of the first FAA  certificate of                                                               
waiver  that authorized  "Small unmanned  aircraft system  (sUAS)                                                               
operations beyond  the visual line  of sight of the  remote pilot                                                               
in  command (PIC)  and Visual  Observer (VO),  in lieu  of visual                                                               
line of sight (VLOS)". This  waiver was under the small, unmanned                                                               
aircraft  rule (Part  107). In  addition to  the 20,000  nautical                                                               
miles of BVLOS  flights in Canada, ACUASI has  flown 3.9 nautical                                                               
miles of BVLOS  flights in the US under this  rule. She described                                                               
it as  an essential  step forward. She  displayed the  picture of                                                               
the  numerous people  that  it  took to  conduct  the US  flight,                                                               
including seven  people from the  FAA. She highlighted  that many                                                               
of  the FAA  personnel were  from headquarters,  which shows  the                                                               
value of unmanned aircraft to the FAA and aviation industry.                                                                    
1:52:30 PM                                                                                                                    
DR. CAHILL  said the next  step includes  a single flight  of the                                                               
entire  Trans   Alaska  Pipeline.  The  aircraft   technology  is                                                               
available but the ground-based detect  and avoid system and rules                                                               
and regulations are  lacking. The FAA currently  has authorized a                                                               
20-mile  test  area over  the  pipeline.  Multiple companies  are                                                               
interested in  coming to Alaska  to participate in  this testing,                                                               
which helps local companies see  the technologies other companies                                                               
are developing.                                                                                                                 
She said  this is  all moving  towards the  goal of  actual cargo                                                               
deliveries to  remote communities  via UAS,  potentially reducing                                                               
costs. Cargo  carrying BVLOS for  hire can  only be done  under a                                                               
Part 135  certificate, so  the university  is working  with local                                                               
air carriers in Fairbanks to get them certified.                                                                                
DR.  CAHILL   said  UAF  is   also  looking  at   medical  supply                                                               
deliveries.  They will  be doing  test  flights in  the next  few                                                               
months between Fairbanks Memorial  Hospital and the Tanana Valley                                                               
Clinic. This is a pilot for  longer distance flights and they are                                                               
working  with  a  major pharmaceutical  company  to  advance  the                                                               
DR. CAHILL reviewed ACUASI's future.                                                                                            
     ACUASI will continue to lead the way to the way to the                                                                     
     safe integration of UAS into the Alaskan airspace                                                                          
    • ACUASI will be fling large UAS from Alaskan airports                                                                      
        to demonstrate UAS capabilities and test Alaskan                                                                        
        business cases                                                                                                          
       • ACUASI and its partners will be developing the                                                                         
        technology and processes for monitoring oil and gas                                                                     
    • ACUASI will be transferring commercial operations it                                                                      
        pioneered to Alaskan companies                                                                                          
1:55:55 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR COSTELLO thanked her for the presentation.                                                                                
SENATOR  STEVENS  described  the  opportunities  as  tremendously                                                               
exciting and  specifically mentioned flights to  spot herring and                                                               
deliveries to remote areas.                                                                                                     
DR CAHILL replied Alaska is  the perfect place to change aviation                                                               
for the  better by keeping  the best of the  traditional industry                                                               
and providing additional options.                                                                                               
SENATOR STEVENS asked  her to expand on how the  detect and avoid                                                               
system works.                                                                                                                   
DR.  CAHILL replied  ACUASI  is testing  systems  that are  radar                                                               
based, optical that use a  camera for spotting, and acoustic that                                                               
listen to  signatures of other  aircraft. The purpose is  to spot                                                               
the  aircraft,  determine  its direction,  and  have  the  system                                                               
perform an  autonomous avoid  in order  to prevent  situations of                                                               
near  miss or  actual collision.  The FAA  is very  interested in                                                               
this technology and the ongoing  tests at the Poker Flat Research                                                               
She said  Alaska is  looking for  onboard the  aircraft solutions                                                               
because  it does  not have  the  infrastructure to  do an  entire                                                               
ground-based  system that  the state  of North  Dakota is  doing.                                                               
Onboard  solutions assure  that if  ground communications  do not                                                               
work, the aircraft will still avoid a collision.                                                                                
CHAIR COSTELLO thanked her for the presentation.                                                                                
^Aerospace Research and Operations at the Geophysical Institute                                                                 
 Aerospace Research and Operations at the Geophysical Institute                                                             
1:59:11 PM                                                                                                                    
LIEUTENANT  GOVERNOR  MEYER  introduced  Dr.  Robert  McCoy,  the                                                               
Director  of  the  Geophysical Institute  at  the  University  of                                                               
Alaska Fairbanks.                                                                                                               
1:59:30 PM                                                                                                                    
ROBERT  MCCOY, PhD;  Director, Geophysical  Institute, University                                                               
of Alaska  Fairbanks, Fairbanks, Alaska started  the presentation                                                               
with a graphic  of a rocket and satellite dishes  in front of the                                                               
building  that   houses  the   UAF  Geophysical   Institute  (the                                                               
Institute). He  described Fairbanks  as a  very good  location to                                                               
download satellite data  and launch rockets into  the aurora. The                                                               
Institute has nine satellite dishes;  seven are used in work with                                                               
the National Aeronautical and Space  Administration (NASA) or the                                                               
Department of Defense and two are  used in work with the National                                                               
Oceanic  and Atmospheric  Administration  (NOAA). He  said he  is                                                               
pointing this out to define  aerospace a little broader than just                                                               
the  research  at  Poker  Flat  because a  lot  of  the  work  is                                                               
2:00:34 PM                                                                                                                    
DR. MCCOY  turned to  the map  of Alaska on  the next  slide that                                                               
depicted  the aerospace  facilities across  the state,  including                                                               
Alaska Aerospace  Corporation. He explained that  from Poker Flat                                                               
they  launch suborbital  to the  Brooks  Range and  out into  the                                                               
Arctic  Ocean. He  said  the Institute  also  controls the  High-                                                               
frequency  Active Auroral  Research  Program  (HAARP) located  in                                                               
Gakona and  collaborates with  the Alaska  Aerospace Corporation.                                                               
They are also working on  an unmanned aircraft station at Oliktok                                                               
He said  the next  slide was part  of a talk  he and  Mark Lester                                                               
from the  Alaska Aerospace Corporation  gave about how  Alaska is                                                               
an aerospace  state that perhaps  can be the low-cost  gateway to                                                               
space with Poker Flat Research  Station and the Pacific Spaceport                                                               
Complex   Alaska  (PSCA) on Kodiak Island. He said  they both are                                                               
working on ways to keep costs  down and promote work and research                                                               
in Alaska. He  pointed to the slide on the  right and highlighted                                                               
their ability to  launch five rockets within a  matter of seconds                                                               
to  do  science  or  for  operational  activities.  He  described                                                               
launches  from Poker  Flat and  noted that  the Alaska  Aerospace                                                               
Corporation  can  launch  both  suborbital and  into  orbit  from                                                               
DR. MCCOY displayed  snapshots of the Poker  Flat Research Range.                                                               
He said  the Institute  has been launching  rockets for  about 50                                                               
years, mostly  into the  aurora. He  pointed to  one of  the five                                                               
rocket launch  rails and  the building on  a railroad  track that                                                               
houses  the launch  rail. He  also mentioned  that the  range has                                                               
radars  and a  LIDAR facility.  He highlighted  that this  is the                                                               
largest land-based  rocket range  in the world  and the  only one                                                               
owned by a university.                                                                                                          
He  stated  that  launching rockets  with  a  scientific  payload                                                               
provides quite an  economic boost for Fairbanks because  20 to 30                                                               
people  arrive for  2  to  3 weeks  for  each  rocket launch.  He                                                               
explained that  the payload is  built up over several  weeks, put                                                               
on  the rail  encapsulated in  Styrofoam, and  elevated. Heat  is                                                               
pumped in and the rocket can be  held in that state for weeks. He                                                               
compared  this to  the DoD  launches at  the White  Sands Missile                                                               
Range  in New  Mexico  that  can only  hold  for  45 minutes.  He                                                               
highlighted  that the  payload from  Poker Flat  launches can  be                                                               
recovered  by helicopter  and launched  again.  He predicted  the                                                               
launch of  14 sounding rockets in  the next couple of  years from                                                               
Poker Flat. It has the  capability of launching higher than White                                                               
Sands  and  still  recover  the   payload.  He  noted  that  NASA                                                               
scientists are  interested in studying  the sun. From  Poker Flat                                                               
they can  launch volleys  of rockets up  to 1,000  kilometers and                                                               
get more hang time than at White Sands.                                                                                         
2:04:37 PM                                                                                                                    
DR. MCCOY  displayed slides 6 and  7 and explained that  the Army                                                               
and  the Yuma  Proving  Ground (YPG)  developed a  hybrid-rocket-                                                               
round that  has a range of  more than 70 kilometers.  Because the                                                               
YPG  range is  limited, he  said the  Institute is  in discussion                                                               
with the Army to experiment at the Poker Flat Research Range.                                                                   
He  related that  this  is  the 75th  year  that the  Geophysical                                                               
Institute  has   studied  the  ionosphere  and   the  aurora.  He                                                               
mentioned  the instrumentation  throughout  Alaska  and the  work                                                               
with the Missile Defense Agency  to provide information for long-                                                               
range discrimination radar (LRDR) at Clear Air Force Station.                                                                   
DR. MCCOY displayed the next slide  and reported that Alaska is a                                                               
good place  to downlink data  from polar orbiting  satellites. To                                                               
map the  earth, satellites  orbit the  poles 14  times and  11 of                                                               
those go over Fairbanks. He pointed  to a picture of the 11-meter                                                               
satellite dishes on campus and noted  that the one on the roof of                                                               
the Institute  is the  highest point  in Fairbanks.  He explained                                                               
that the  Institute downloads most  of NASA's  synthetic aperture                                                               
radar (SAR) data, day or night  and through clouds. He noted that                                                               
the colorful image  on the right is the SAR  image of Cook Inlet.                                                               
He also mentioned work regarding domain awareness.                                                                              
2:07:58 PM                                                                                                                    
DR.  MCCOY turned  to  the  image of  the  High frequency  Active                                                               
Auroral Research  Program (HAARP)  facility in Gakona.  DoD built                                                               
the facility,  Senator Ted  Stevens started  the program  and the                                                               
Defense Advanced Research Projects  Agency (DARPA), the Navy, and                                                               
the Air Force  finished it for $290 million. The  facility is one                                                               
of three  in the world. It  is powered with five  3,600 HP diesel                                                               
engines  (shown  on   the  next  slide)  and   can  transmit  3.7                                                               
megawatts. Currently, the Air Force,  the Navy, the Department of                                                               
Energy, and several universities come  to HAARP to do experiments                                                               
in  the ionosphere  that can't  be done  anywhere else.  He cited                                                               
creating an artificial aurora as an example.                                                                                    
He said  the next slide  illustrates the possibility of  over the                                                               
horizon  radar using  HAARP as  a transmitter  and a  receiver at                                                               
Delta Junction.  This can  be used to  look for  aircraft, cruise                                                               
missiles, hypersonic  vehicles, or to  measure sea ice.  He noted                                                               
the capability to  look in both directions. He  also mentioned an                                                               
experimenter at  the Naval Research  Lab who is working  with the                                                               
Institute and the Alaska Aerospace  Corporation to put a receiver                                                               
in Kodiak  to transmit south. He  believes it is possible  to see                                                               
Hawaii in over the horizon radar mode.                                                                                          
DR. MCCOY displayed  the last slide and advised  that Mark Lester                                                               
would  talk  about a  hypersonic  vehicle  test range  along  the                                                               
Aleutians. He  said hypersonic vehicles  leave a plasma  scar and                                                               
he believes these signals can be  received using HAARP as a radio                                                               
transmitter. He concluded that Alaska  is an aerospace state that                                                               
already has a breadth of activity.                                                                                              
CHAIR COSTELLO thanked him for the amazing presentation.                                                                        
SENATOR STEVENS  asked what  he projects for  the future  of over                                                               
the horizon radar.                                                                                                              
DR. MCCOY  said he believes  it could be  used soon but  he would                                                               
defer to Mark Lester for a more detailed answer.                                                                                
^Alaska Aerospace Corporation Presentation                                                                                      
           Alaska Aerospace Corporation Presentation                                                                        
2:13:00 PM                                                                                                                    
LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR  MEYER introduced Mark Lester,  President and                                                               
CEO  of  the  Alaska  Aerospace   Corporation  and  part  of  the                                                               
leadership team  for the Alaska  Chapter of the  Aerospace States                                                               
2:13:24 PM                                                                                                                    
MARK  LESTER, President  and CEO,  Alaska Aerospace  Corporation,                                                               
Anchorage, Alaska,  reported that the corporation  is celebrating                                                               
its 30th anniversary  as a public corporation of  the state. They                                                               
have  primarily focused  on the  spaceport in  Kodiak but  have a                                                               
strong collaboration  with the university. Formerly  known as the                                                               
Kodiak  Launch Complex,  the Pacific  Spaceport Complex  - Alaska                                                               
(PSCA)  was one  of  the  first locations  to  have a  commercial                                                               
spaceport. They have  defined what it means  to deliver spaceport                                                               
capability  to commercial  and government  customers. He  said he                                                               
would give  a virtual tour  of the site and  welcomes legislators                                                               
to visit and see a launch.                                                                                                      
He said the corporation has focused  on running as a business and                                                               
he is proud to report that  since 2015 they have not received any                                                               
sustainment funding from either  the state or federal government.                                                               
One mechanism  to deliver  the economic  value envisioned  by Ted                                                               
Stevens was to create the  wholly owned subsidiary, Aurora Launch                                                               
Services. It  provides flexibility to increase  staff when needed                                                               
for missions and  launches and then pulling back to  a core group                                                               
between missions.                                                                                                               
2:16:00 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. LESTER pointed  to the large green launch area  and said PSCA                                                               
has  more flexibility  than anywhere  else to  do suborbital  and                                                               
orbital launches  to do tests  like missile defense  intercept or                                                               
to  launch into  Polar orbit  where the  satellite goes  over the                                                               
North or South Pole. He described  the Kodiak location as a great                                                               
natural  resource; it  is  a  safe place  to  launch,  has a  low                                                               
population,  and has  strong logistics  capabilities with  a deep                                                               
water  ice-free port,  an  airport that  is  co-located with  the                                                               
Coast  Guard   station,  and  fiberoptic  capabilities   so  some                                                               
customers  can get  the data  they need  while working  away from                                                               
Alaska. He noted  that extending the fiberoptic  to Unalaska will                                                               
provide  more flexibility  to support  launches  in the  Aleutian                                                               
Test  Range and  provide  communities  with fiberoptic  broadband                                                               
connectivity.  He   reported  about   $120  million   in  capital                                                               
investment  to  support  both DoD  and  commercial  launches.  He                                                               
posited that  aerospace could leverage  the moto, "From  the Last                                                               
Frontier, to the Final Frontier."                                                                                               
2:17:59 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. LESTER  said the next  slide provides  a virtual tour  of the                                                               
Pacific  Spaceport Complex  - Alaska  (PSCA). It  is one  of just                                                               
four stations to launch into orbit  and it has launch and mission                                                               
control centers,  instrumentation to track rockets  and shut them                                                               
down  within the  safety  corridors,  payload processing,  rocket                                                               
storage, and  a number of  launch pads. He directed  attention to                                                               
the  six  launch  pads  at  PSCA. Launch  Pad  1  (LP-1)  is  the                                                               
traditional  tower that  can handle  larger solid-fueled  rockets                                                               
and LP-2 next  to it is a flat-pad for  smaller vehicles. He said                                                               
the area  3 pads  are for both  military and  commercial launches                                                               
and the new commercial space  company Astra consistently uses LP-                                                               
3B. He noted that he had a  90-second video that he would show at                                                               
the end of the presentation  that has highlights of Astra getting                                                               
its vehicle into space in December 2020.                                                                                        
MR. LESTER  directed attention to  the launch graphic on  slide 6                                                               
and  the chart  on  the right  that lists  the  year, month,  and                                                               
sponsor of every launch from ASCA  for the last 23 years. He said                                                               
the world is  now turning to Kodiak and Alaska  to understand how                                                               
to launch  in other locations.  He reviewed the list  of sponsors                                                               
and noted  that last  year DARPA highlighted  Kodiak as  the only                                                               
place in the US that could  support responsive and agile space to                                                               
meet DoD needs.                                                                                                                 
2:20:31 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. LESTER  said the  graphic on slide  7 depicts  Astra's light-                                                               
lift launch  vehicle. It is  about 40 feet  tall and fits  into a                                                               
traditional  tractor-trailer for  shipping. It  launches CubeSats                                                               
that are the size  of a toaster or toaster oven and  can be up to                                                               
the size of  a small refrigerator. Several hundred  pounds can be                                                               
launched and  it can carry  up to  1,000 gallons of  kerosene and                                                               
liquid  oxygen.  From  Kodiak   there  is  responsive  access  to                                                               
replenish high-inclination/polar  constellations, the  ability to                                                               
launch  low-cost R&D  satellites,  and the  ability  to test  new                                                               
rocket systems.                                                                                                                 
He  turned to  slide 8  that lists  the commercial  customers, in                                                               
addition to Astra,  that are using the  Pacific Spaceport Complex                                                               
- Alaska. He  noted that two of the companies  are foreign. These                                                               
are Taiwan  Innovative Space and the  India-based company AgniKul                                                               
Cosmos. He said they are working  with the Department of State to                                                               
get permission  for these  foreign companies  to launch  from the                                                               
US. He said  it is exciting that  they see Alaska as  a leader in                                                               
space  launch  and  space  activities.  He  said  Phoenix  Launch                                                               
Systems is interested in launching  from Kodiak in the future and                                                               
AAC is also in negotiations  with other companies. He highlighted                                                               
the economic  boost in the  next step, which is  building rockets                                                               
in Alaska.                                                                                                                      
2:23:57 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. LESTER said  the next slide features space  tourism. PSCA has                                                               
signed with Space  Perspective to launch a capsule  that holds up                                                               
to eight  people to the  edge of  space. From about  100,000 feet                                                               
these people  will get  an astronaut's view  of the  world before                                                               
the capsule  floats back  down for pick-up  in either  the Bering                                                               
Sea or  the Gulf  of Alaska,  depending on  the direction  of the                                                               
wind.  He  said  this  is  another  example  of  how  the  Kodiak                                                               
Spaceport is  looking at being  a multiuser facility.  The system                                                               
is being tested in Florida and  is expected in Alaska in the next                                                               
few years.                                                                                                                      
He  said the  next  slide highlights  the  activities the  Alaska                                                               
Aerospace Corporation (AAC) is being  asked to do in other states                                                               
and overseas. He  explained that Rocket Lab is a  US company that                                                               
has a launch  site in New Zealand. Between May  2017 and December                                                               
2019, AAC deployed their antennas  for range safety and telemetry                                                               
system (RSTS) to New Zealand  and supported the first 10 launches                                                               
of  the  Electron  Rocket,  some  of  which  were  DoD  and  NASA                                                               
missions.  Rocket Lab  got its  rocket  certified for  autonomous                                                               
flight  termination during  those missions.  Since then,  AAC has                                                               
received requests  to support  other missions  and has  signed an                                                               
agreement with Spaceport in Camden, Georgia.                                                                                    
2:26:39 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. LESTER  described the economic  impact that  Alaska Aerospace                                                               
Corporation and  the Spaceport have  had on the  Alaskan economy.                                                               
He pointed  out that AAC's  activities are 100 percent  funded by                                                               
contracts. Since the  first launch in 1998, they  have brought in                                                               
more than  $200 million  in launch  revenue. COVID-19  has caused                                                               
revenue to drop about 45 percent,  but they continue to work with                                                               
federal  and  commercial  customers   on  new  opportunities.  He                                                               
reported  that the  Spaceport launches  have generated  about $80                                                               
million  for  Kodiak.  He  predicted  that  this  would  grow  as                                                               
commercial  companies  increase  launches. More  people  will  be                                                               
hired  to  work not  just  for  the  Spaceport  but also  at  the                                                               
Spaceport, he said. AAC spends  about $16 million annually in the                                                               
state on goods, services, and labor.  He said he is also proud to                                                               
report AAC's  support of Alaska's  'New Space'  entrepreneurs. He                                                               
cited The Launch Company that is Anchorage-based as an example.                                                                 
He turned  to the slide  Building an Alaskan Space  Workforce. He                                                               
reported  that  95  percent  of   the  AAC  workforce  supporting                                                               
commercial  launch is  from Alaska,  75  percent of  which is  in                                                               
Kodiak.  He  highlighted  that both  the  Spaceport  manager  and                                                               
deputy  managers  were  born  and raised  on  Kodiak  Island.  He                                                               
identified  several other  employees from  Kodiak and  emphasized                                                               
the STEM  [science, technology, engineering  and math]  jobs that                                                               
are  being created  in Alaska.  He noted  that they  received the                                                               
Denali Peak Performance Exceptional Team Award.                                                                                 
2:30:11 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. LESTER described AAC's partnerships and collaboration.                                                                      
     - Collaboration  with Dr. McCoy  and UA on the  Rapid &                                                                    
     Agile Space  Launch (RASL) Innovation Center  on how to                                                                    
     support  deployed  spaceports  and   how  to  bring  in                                                                    
     digital capabilities.  Plans include an  innovation lab                                                                    
     at  Kodiak, interactive  STEM  learning  for K  through                                                                    
     graduate level entrepreneurs.                                                                                              
     - Strengthening collaboration with  DMVA and the Alaska                                                                    
     National  Guard  on   military  launches  and  security                                                                    
     support.  Exploring  additional  collaboration  on  DoD                                                                    
     test flights.                                                                                                              
     - Working  with Dr.  McCoy and UA  to get  a commercial                                                                    
     spaceport license for Poker Flat Research Range.                                                                           
     -  Working   with  UA   to  establish   a  professional                                                                    
     certificate  in  spaceport operations  and  management.                                                                    
     This  is   both  teaching  Alaskans  about   running  a                                                                    
     spaceport and exporting this knowledge.                                                                                    
MR. LESTER  explained that  AAC works  to integrate  space launch                                                               
into  the way  of life  at Kodiak.  They pre-coordinate  with the                                                               
community  before launches  to  promote  transparency and  ensure                                                               
safety.  They have  been working  with the  Civil Air  Patrol and                                                               
received an  invitation to join  the Kodiak  Economic Development                                                               
Corporation. Astra's launch.                                                                                                    
He pointed  to the image of  the spaceport on the  last slide and                                                               
invited the  committee to watch  the 90-second video of  an Astra                                                               
2:34:38 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR COSTELLO  asked what advice  he has for young  Alaskans who                                                               
want to pursue aerospace as a career.                                                                                           
MR. LESTER  replied science, technology,  and math  are important                                                               
but it's not  necessary to be an engineer. Having  an interest in                                                               
the  field and  being willing  to  do the  hard work  is just  as                                                               
important  for the  diverse group  of non-engineering  staff that                                                               
work in the field.                                                                                                              
SENATOR  STEVENS commented  on the  30-year aerospace  history in                                                               
Kodiak and  noted that  Senator Ted  Stevens was  responsible for                                                               
the $120 million to build the  rocket launch and the state funded                                                               
a substantial amount  every year. The rocket launch  is now self-                                                               
sufficient and annual state funding is no longer necessary.                                                                     
SENATOR HOLLAND  commented on  his visit  to the  Spaceport about                                                               
five years  ago and interest  in space tourism and  advancing the                                                               
aerospace industry.                                                                                                             
^Aerospace States Association                                                                                                   
                  Aerospace States Association                                                                              
2:38:34 PM                                                                                                                    
LIEUTENANT   GOVERNOR  MEYER   introduced  Ross   Garelick  Bell,                                                               
Executive Director of the Aerospace States Association.                                                                         
2:40:04 PM                                                                                                                    
ROSS   GARELICK  BELL,   Executive   Director  Aerospace   States                                                               
Association,  Washington,  DC,  explained  that  ASA  is  a  non-                                                               
partisan   501   (c)(3)    non-profit   organization   of   state                                                               
governments.  Their  funding  comes from  state  governments  and                                                               
their  focus  is on  aerospace  policy.  The organization's  main                                                               
objective is to  facilitate the discussion on how  to improve the                                                               
aerospace community  and to advocate these  interests to Congress                                                               
and  the   executive  branch.  He  highlighted   the  role  state                                                               
governments' play to support federal  programs. "The way that ASA                                                               
views it  is each state is  a star on  the flag and the  only way                                                               
that flag is  put on the side of  an F35 jet is if  all 50 states                                                               
are building it."  He said ASA promotes  economic development and                                                               
support  of  the  aerospace   industry,  R&D  funding,  workforce                                                               
training, STEM education  in every state, and  competition in the                                                               
global marketplace.                                                                                                             
2:44:41 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.   BELL  discussed   the  following   points  on   ASA  policy                                                               
     - ASA brings together aviation and aerospace interests                                                                     
       across each state to educate state legislators on                                                                        
     issues specific to their state.                                                                                            
     - As  leaders in state governments,  ASA members affect                                                                    
     policy  at   both  the  state  and   federal  level  by                                                                    
     informing their congressional  delegations on aerospace                                                                    
He  highlighted that  ASA  has been  targeted  to participate  in                                                               
hypersonics for  rapid global  transportation with  spaceports as                                                               
the  new gate  entry  point. He  noted that  there  would be  new                                                               
associated policies.                                                                                                            
2:47:12 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. BELL  explained that  each ASA member  state has  chapters to                                                               
coordinate the  state to work  on programs for the  betterment of                                                               
the entire  state. He noted  ASA's role in  educating legislators                                                               
on  the needs  and opportunities  of the  aviation and  aerospace                                                               
community  of their  state through  aerospace days  at the  state                                                               
capitol.  Activities  have included  a  rocket  in front  of  the                                                               
Arizona capitol building, drones that  flew over capitol domes to                                                               
do imaging, and discussions with experts like these today.                                                                      
He advised  that ASA plans to  hold its annual meeting  in Denver                                                               
if  the state  is  open and  hopes to  piggyback  with the  Space                                                               
Symposium. It will  be more low-key than usual  because of COVID-                                                               
19, but the  event in Alaska in  2022 is expected to  be a return                                                               
to  normal.  He noted  that  the  last  big  event was  the  2019                                                               
celebration  of the  50th anniversary  of the  Apollo mission  in                                                               
Huntsville Alabama that  featured Dr. Buzz Aldrin  as the keynote                                                               
speaker. He  said the  hope is  to bring that  type of  effort to                                                               
Alaska in  2022 and he looks  forward to working with  members of                                                               
the Alaska chapter.                                                                                                             
CHAIR  COSTELLO thanked  Mr. Bell  and asked  Lieutenant Governor                                                               
Meyer for closing comments.                                                                                                     
2:48:55 PM                                                                                                                    
LIEUTENANT  GOVERNOR MEYER  thanked the  chair and  committee for                                                               
hosting the  first Aerospace  Day at the  Alaska Capitol  and the                                                               
presenters  for taking  the  time to  prepare  and deliver  their                                                               
presentations.  He related  his  excitement about  the future  of                                                               
aerospace and aviation in Alaska.                                                                                               
2:52:07 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  COSTELLO   thanked  Lieutenant  Governor  Meyer   and  the                                                               
presenters and related  her interest in engaging  young people in                                                               
careers where they  can stay in Alaska  as contributing citizens.                                                               
She said she is proud to have  a high school in her district that                                                               
has  a  rigorous engineering  program  that  offers students  the                                                               
opportunity  to  graduate with  the  honor  of having  earned  an                                                               
Engineering Cord.                                                                                                               
2:53:56 PM                                                                                                                    
There being no further business to come before the committee,                                                                   
Chair Costello adjourned the Senate Labor and Commerce Standing                                                                 
Committee meeting at 2:53 p.m.                                                                                                  

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
Aerospace Presentation 1 - Dr Cahill UAF 3.17.21.pdf SL&C 3/17/2021 1:30:00 PM
Alaska Aerospace Day
Aerospace Presentation 2 - Dr McCoy UAF 3.17.21.pdf SL&C 3/17/2021 1:30:00 PM
Alaska Aerospace Day
Aerospace Presentation 3 - Mark Lester AK Aerospace Corp 3.17.21.pdf SL&C 3/17/2021 1:30:00 PM
Aerospace Presentation 4 - Garelick Bell Aerospace States 3.17.21.pdf SL&C 3/17/2021 1:30:00 PM