AAC PSCA – Kodiak Launch Facility

AAC PSCA – Kodiak Launch Facility

Start Date: September 3, 2015
Completion Date: July 13, 2016
Owner: Alaska Aerospace Corporation
Location: Kodiak, AK
Architects: BRPH Architects
Project Manager: Luke Blomfield/David Sterling
Project Superintendent: Ken Parmenter
Project Engineer: Pete Clements
Site Safety Manager: Kirk Waggoner

In 2014, seconds after a rocket carrying a test weapon was launched from the Kodiak Launch Complex, the rocket suffered an anomaly and was destructed, causing large amounts of damage on the complex grounds.  Davis was selected in 2015 for the rebuild. There were many risks- no potable water, no construction elevator, no crane on the island, unknown additional damage….. Davis had to play a part in humpty dumpty-coordinating the rebuild of the Alaska Aerospace Corporations’ Pacific Spaceport Complex- doing what all the kings horses and all the kings men couldn’t do, putting it all back together again.

The fast track schedule (of less than 10 months) had fabrication duration and delivery timeline for the metal panels starting in December 2015. This is the least optimal timeframe to install panels in Kodiak. Historically, December and January are the most dark, cold, rainy, snowy and windy months of the year. In early January 2016, with wind speeds averaging 20 mph and gusts of over 60- our crew of  carpenters began the installation of over 41,000 sf of insulated metal panels on the 170’ tall Launch Service Structure (LSS).   Our crew saw over 40 inches of precipitation during the first few months of our project- many of our crewmen had multiple sets of raingear- as just one wouldn’t cut it.  In fact, some of our carpenters would wear two sets of rain gear at a time- a light set on the bottom and the PVC coated heavy duty set on the top.  The weather in Kodiak during the middle of winter had the potential to significantly impact the ability to safely install metal panels at the LSS building.

We reviewed many options for panel installation and determined that utilizing a swing stage along with man lifts and scissor lifts was the best approach for installation. We ran 2 man lifts and 4 swing stage modular platforms- one from the top of each of the sides of the LSS.

We worked on a total of 8 different structures at the complex- Besides the 170’ tall LSS (which includes the RSS, RSD and FSS), we were at the Comm 1 and 2 RMSF, IPF, PPF, LEB, and LEV.  Along with our proposed access and hoisting plan for panel installation, we developed a project schedule to Phase construction so only the LSS was on the schedule critical path. This allowed us to treat the work scopes at the IPF, LEV, LEB, RMSF and System Level as “filler work”. When we encountered conditions that were deemed unsafe to install metal panels at the LSS we redirected crews to alternate locations. Our approach allowed us to maintain consistent onsite crews, (reducing the learning curve) maximize good weather days for metal panel installation and minimize the impact of bad weather days through resource shifting.

Long lead, specialty, made to order items were the core of the project- from the hazardous vapor detection system to the hydrafog for the hydrazine– everything was Div 1 Class 2 Explosion Proof.

An unexpected additional benefit of the AAC rebuild… some of the Davis crew came back to town noticeably thinner.  The LSS initially did not have reliable elevator power, compelling the crew to access the roof by climbing 11 stories of stairs and an additional 80 ft of roof access ladder. The Kodiak Island LSS stairmaster program was a success!  I think Randall, one of our crew members from Fairbanks, lost over 20 pounds- as did Kenny, our Superintendent! Davis delivered a safe AND healthy workforce!