NASA's Virginia facility selected as Rocket Lab’s US spaceportRocket Lab confirmed that it will build its first US launch pad for the Electron rocket that will launch from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility, located in Virginia. The launch site will be called Launch Complex 2 since Rocket Lab's Launch Complex 1 is located in New Zealand.
The company made its final decision based on time for launch pad development, customizability for the Electron launch vehicle as well as whether it could support 12 launches a year and reach multiple orbital inclinations.
Launch Complex 2 will be capable of supporting monthly orbital launches and is designed to serve US government and commercial missions. The site brings Rocket Lab’s global launch availability across two launch complexes to more than 130 missions per year.
Through construction and day-to-day operations, Rocket Lab expects to create around 30 jobs immediately to directly support Launch Complex 2, with this number predicted to increase to approximately 100 as launch frequency increases. The development of Launch Complex 2 will also see Rocket Lab continue to expand Electron rocket production at the company’s headquarters in Huntington Beach, California, to supply complete launch vehicles for government and commercial customers.
“We are honored to be Rocket Lab’s selection for Launch Complex 2” stated Dale Nash, CEO and Executive Director of Virginia Space. “There is an incredible synergy between Virginia Space and Rocket Lab and we are proud to support their missions launching from U.S. soil.”
Rocket Lab, NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility and Virginia Space are looking to launch the first Electron from LC-2 at Mid Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) as early as Summer 2019.
“Rocket Lab’s decision to locate this launch site and integration facility at Wallops Island reflects the Commonwealth’s strategic transportation planning efforts to create a world class, customer-oriented gateway to space,” said Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine. “The MARS facility is an important part of our multi-modal transportation system that serves as the platform to drive Virginia’s economy forward.”