US Orbital Launcher Provider Rocket Lab has today confirmed that it will build its first American launch racket for the…
US Orbital Launcher Provider Rocket Lab has today confirmed that it will build its first American launch racket for the electron rocket at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, USA. The site will be Rocket Lab’s other dedicated launch complexes and build on Rocket Lab’s existing ability to launch up to 120 times a year from the world’s only single launch launch, Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1, in New Zealand.
Launch Complex 2 will be able to support monthly orbital launches and is designed to serve US government and commercial missions. The site provides Rocket Lab’s global launch availability across two launch complexes to over 130 missions per year. The option to choose from two launch sites provides extra flexibility for small satellite customers, providing an unrivaled ability to quickly deploy space-based assets with confidence and precision from a preferred location.
“Space access should be simple, seamless and tailored to our clients’ mission ̵
1; from idea to bypass. Launch from a second pillow is based on Rocket Lab’s ability to offer the little satellite industry an unrivaled schedule and launch site flexibility,” said Rocket Lab, founder and CEO of Peter Beck.
After proving the Electron vehicle with a successful orbital launch this year, we are proud to expand our ability to provide fast, reliable and affordable access to orbit for small satellites.
“We have worked closely with the experienced and welcome teams from Virginia Space and Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport on Wallops to design a path and processes that allow for a smooth and streamlined approach for small satellite launches on American soil, “he added.
Rocket Lab is coming to work with Virginia Space to construct dedicated road infrastructure in place, tailored for Electron launch vehicles. In addition to the pillow, Rocket Lab will develop a launch vehicle for integration and assembly at Wallops Research Park to support the simultaneous integration of up to four electrically powered vehicles.
The facility will also include a control room with connection to LC-2, as well as dedicated customer facilities. This new facility, combined with the specially built gantry on the LC-2, will provide significant and dedicated vehicle processing capacity and flexibility to meet Rocket Lab’s launching damage.
By design and daily operation, Rocket Lab expects to create approximately 30 jobs immediately to directly support Launch Complex 2, with this number estimated to increase to about 100 when launch rate increases. The development of Launch Complex 2 will also see that Rocket Lab continues to expand Electron rocket production at its headquarters in Huntington Beach, California, to deliver complete launch vehicles for government and commercial customers.
“We are honored to be Rocket Lab’s selection for Launch Complex 2,” said Dale Nash, CEO and CEO of Virginia Space. “There is an incredible synergy between Virginia Space and Rocket Lab, and we are proud to be able to support our mission from the United States soil. We would like to thank Rocket Lab for their trust in our team. Virginia Space and MARS employees are ready to do everything we can to ensure successful, safe and current launching tasks for Rocket Lab, just as we do for every Spaceport customer. “
Bill Wrobel, director of NASA Wallops, said that Wallops has more than 70 years of experience supporting missions using suborbital and small and medium-sized orbital launch vehicles. We look forward to working with our partner Virginia Space and its Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport support Rocket Lab’s electronics mission and expand commercial launches from Wallops. “ Four space ports were listed to be Rocket Lab Launch Complex 2, including the Cape Canaveral, the Wallops Flight Facility, the Pacific Spaceport Complex – Alaska and the Vandenberg Air Force Base. Wallops Flight Facility made the final cut thanks to the high aviation availability available from the site, as well as fast construction deadlines that will see the Rocket Lab target the first Electron launch from US soil Q3 2019.
Rocket Lab continues to assess additional launch locations in the US and internationally to provide additional launch flexibility for small satellite customers. The company also maintains agreements with Cape Canaveral in Florida and the Pacific Spaceport Complex Alaska to implement launches from existing pillows as required.
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