Wallops Flight Facility becomes first US launch site for Rocket Lab
WALLOPS ISLAND, Va. – NASA Wallops Flight Facility on the Eastern Shore is making history, as they partner with the only private orbital launch site in the world.
On Wednesday, they broke ground on the first launch site in the US for Rocket Lab.
After Rocket Lab looked at all the launch ranges across the country, Wallops Flight Facility was the winner creating launch complex number two. Rocket Lab CEO and Founder Peter Beck says, “Wallops gives us the frequency we need and the options that we need for our US government customers, so it’s very important for us to expand launch sites into the US.”
This site on the Eastern Shore will be Rocket Lab’s second launch complex. The first one is in New Zealand and they launch up to 120 times annually.
Rocket Lab has invested over $20 million into the pad and they plan to have monthly orbital launches with their Electron rocket. “What’s happening in the space industry right now is that satellites are shrinking in size and they are getting smaller and smaller and smaller but unfortunately launch vehicles aren’t getting smaller. So what we’ve developed is a small launch vehicle for launching small satellites to orbit but really frequently,” Beck tells us.
These small satellites lift about 400 pounds to orbit and they are designed to serve US government and commercial missions. “A lot of people don’t realize how reliant on space craft on satellites, whether it be GPS or communications or television it all coming from space.”
NASA Wallops Flight Facility says they are excited to support Rocket Lab’s missions and expand commercial launch operations on their soil.
We’re told this is going to be a quick construction process and that’s because they are trying to get the first launch completed in the third quarter of next year.