Film gives inside look at Kodiak’s Pacific Spaceport Complex

  • Monday, March 19, 2018 11:01pm
  • News

KODIAK (AP) — A new short documentary has provided an inside look at Kodiak’s Pacific Spaceport Complex.

Alaska filmmakers shot the seven-minute film over a two-day span in June, the Kodiak Daily Mirror reported .

The film, “Spaceport Somewhere,” includes views of control rooms and the facility’s launch tower, as well as interviews with engineers and maintenance workers. It is available to watch on Vimeo.

“The documentary tells the story of the blue-collar and high technology employees who make space exploration possible,” according to the film synopsis.

Film director Brice Habeger, a Juneau native, said his crew was granted access to the spaceport by the Alaska Aerospace Company. He said the only stipulation was that their drone cameras — used for aerial shots — had to avoid capturing details about an upcoming missile defense launch by the U.S. government.

“Any aerial footage had to be reviewed to make sure it didn’t show anything they didn’t want shown,” Habeger said.

Spaceport employees, most from Alaska, were eager to share their enthusiasm for their work.

Deric Schmidt, a facilities manager at the site, was born in Kodiak and said his interest in rockets developed early.

“I remember as a kid we would take field trips on launch days that we knew about,” he said. “We watched a couple launches from here, and I always wanted to work here.”

The Pacific Spaceport Complex opened in 1998 and is operated by the Alaska Aerospace Corporation, based in Anchorage.

A launch failure in 2014 caused the facility to close for two years. In July, the spaceport supported a successful test of a high-altitude defense weapon by the U.S. Missile Defense Agency. Another missile launch test is planned for 2018, and the spaceport also supports commercial launches.

Habeger said he hopes the film, which was self-funded by him and his colleague Zak Melms, sheds light on possibilities available to Alaskans.

“Speaking as an Alaskan, somebody who grew up here, the cliche when it comes to the Last Frontier is outdoorsy explorers out on the edge of the arctic. Or climbing Denali. And that’s certainly our roots,” he said.

Habeger added: “But in the Alaskan landscape of today, anything is possible. You could live out on Kodiak and grow up fishing, but there’s opportunities to be somebody who launches rockets up past the Earth’s atmosphere.”

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