Air Force Launches Rocket From Kodiak Island
(Source : US Department of Defense ; issued Apr. 25, 2002)


KODIAK LAUNCH COMPLEX, Alaska --- An Air Force and aerospace industry team successfully launched a quick reaction launch vehicle here on April 24.

The rocket launched at 2 p.m. ADT and flew a sub-orbital flight for a little more than seven minutes before hitting the ocean as scheduled in the Gulf of Alaska about 375 miles downrange. The QRLV-2 was a 30-foot long single-stage vehicle weighing about 14,000 pounds.

The primary objective of the $13.5 million QRLV-2 mission was to provide a theater ballistic missile scenario in support of the Alaskan Command Northern Edge 2002 exercise. This is an annual joint-service arctic-weather training exercise involving more than 7,500 troops from all branches of the U.S. armed forces and Alaska-region Canadian forces.

The exercise is designed as a regional crisis response scenario. The QRLV-2 rocket flight allowed Northern Edge participants to execute defensive strategies and test response scenarios that would occur during an actual ballistic missile attack.

Secondary objectives included several experiments -- a U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command developmental flight battery and advanced accelerometer package (a device to measure acceleration being developed by the University of Mississippi), and an Air Force Research Laboratory Ballistic Missile Range Safety Technology mobile range safety tracking system. The QRLV-2 flight provided an opportunity for the U.S. Navy Sea-based Midcourse Defense program to exercise tracking capabilities and computer-simulated intercept scenarios.

The QRLV-2 development, acquisition, and launch process are managed by the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center, Detachment 12, Rocket Systems Launch Program located at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M.

The QRLV program began in fiscal 2000, and consists of launching up to eight sub-orbital vehicles (one QRLV per year) until fiscal 2008.

This was the fourth sounding rocket launched by the Air Force in four years from the commercial launch facility here. The Air Force previously launched two atmospheric interceptor technology rockets from the complex in November 1998 and September 1999, and the first QRLV in March 2001. All of the rocket flights have been in a southeasterly direction from Kodiak Island.

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