AIT-2 rocket set for Kodiak launch

Maj. Richard Williamson, Public Affairs
Sept. 10, 1999
ASTRO NEWS Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif.

The Air Force will launch an atmospheric interceptor technology rocket from Kodiak Launch Complex, Alaska on a sub-orbital flight along the West Coast of North America. The launch is scheduled for Tuesday with a launch window of 1 to 3 p.m. Alaska Standard Time. This is the second ait launch by the Air Force from the Kodiak complex. The Air Force launched the first ait rocket from Kodiak November 5, 1998.

The atmospheric interceptor technology development, acquisition, and launch process are managed by the Space and Missile Systems Center, Test and Evaluation Directorate located in Albuquerque, N.M.

The Air Force atmospheric interceptor technology program is developing, integrating and demonstrating light-weight launch vehicle technologies within the atmosphere to support Ballistic Missile Defense technology.

The Air Force has a requirement to develop target vehicles that have the ability to simulate a realistic incoming ballistic missile trajectory. This capability will be used to evaluate the performance and utility of currently existing radar on the West Coast of the United States and provide an experimental platform for evaluation of future technology.

The “ait-2” launch vehicle is approximately 56 feet, 10 inches long and weighs 31,912 pounds at liftoff. The booster stack consists of two solid rocket motors, the Thiokol Cas-tor IVB with a flexseal as first stage and the M57 as the second stage. The reentry portion of the vehicle contains the payload, which is composed of five experiments: an Air Force experiment, Langmuir Probe, Boston Rocket Iono-spheric Tomography Experiment and Interceptor Seeker window characterization. Also included in the payload sec-tion are five objects designed to calibrate the Hardware Algorithm Demonstration upgrade to West Coast radar.

Engineers raise the atmospheric interceptor technology rocket in preparation for Tuesday’s launch. The ait-2 is designed to help develop, integrate and demonstrate lightweight launch vehicle technologies