Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and Alaska Governor Sean Parnell jointly announced today the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to establish a formal operating relationship between the Virginia Commercial Spaceflight Authority (VCSFA) and the Alaska Aerospace Corporation (AAC).
Speaking today about the announcement, Governor McDonnell said, "The Commonwealth's partnership with Alaska will further this new era of commercial aerospace activity throughout the Commonwealth. As the U.S. space program increases its reliance on the commercial sector, these types of partnerships will not only help keep America competitive in the space industry, but will help create much-needed jobs and economic development. The successful launch of Orbital Science's new Antares launch vehicle from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) this past April 21st , as well as two upcoming September launches to the Moon and the International Space Station, position Virginia for continued growth in this vibrant space market."
The MOU defines the intent of the Commonwealth of Virginia and the State of Alaska to initiate a collaborative and cooperative partnership for spaceport operations. Future launch customers will realize business advantages as the partnership will promote efficiency between MARS and the Kodiak Launch Complex (KLC) designed to create commonality between the two spaceports that decreases costs and improves performance.
"Alaska has been at the forefront of space launch for nearly 20 years," Governor Parnell said. "With this agreement, we will be creating opportunities for the commercial space industry to secure cost-effective and reliable launch operations from both the east and west coasts. Both Alaska and Virginia will benefit with greater investment and job opportunities as leaders in the burgeoning commercial space industry."
The Virginia General Assembly created VCSFA to promote development of the aerospace industry, economic development, and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education throughout the Commonwealth. VCSFA owns and operates MARS, located on Wallops Island, Virginia.
AAC was established by the State of Alaska to develop a high technology aerospace industry in the state. Its core business area is space launch, and it developed, owns, and operates KLC, a state-of-the-industry spaceport on Kodiak Island, Alaska.