Rocket Lab Unveils Second Launch Site at Wallops Flight Facility - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Rocket Lab Unveils Second Launch Site at Wallops Flight Facility

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Rocket Labs on Wednesday held a groundbreaking event for its new launch pad at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility. (Photo credit: Rocket Lab) Rocket Labs on Wednesday held a groundbreaking event for its new launch pad at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility. (Photo credit: Rocket Lab)

WALLOPS ISLAND, Va.- A small satellite launching company called Rocket Lab had a big day on Thursday on Virginia's Eastern Shore.

The company unveiled its first launch site on U.S. soil, and it's located at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Accomack County. Launch Complex 2 is Rocket Lab’s second launch site, and was built by Rocket Lab teams and Virginia Space. 

Construction began back in February, the company says, and the site officially opened Thursday. 

Rocket Lab's first customer to launch on an Electron from LC-2 will be the U.S. Air Force, which will fly a microsatellite mission for the service’s Space Test Program in the second quarter of 2020. An official date will be determined later in the year. 

It’s an honor and privilege to be launching a U.S. Air Force’s Space Test Program payload as the inaugural mission from Launch Complex 2,” said Rocket Lab founder and CEO Peter Beck in a press release. “We’ve already successfully delivered STP payloads on Electron from Launch Complex 1, and we’re proud to be providing that same rapid, responsive, and tailored access to orbit from U.S. soil.”

Rocket Lab says Launch Complex 2 can support up to 12 launches per year. Wallops officials say this could increase tourism in Virginia, and more government and commercial business to Wallops. 

In addition to the launch site itself, Virginia Space has started construction on a new Integration and Control Facility located within the Wallops Research Park to support the Rocket Lab team in Virginia.

According to Rocket Lab, this will house multiple launch vehicles for pre-launch integration and will be home to Launch Complex 2 Range Control operations, payload integrations clean rooms, and administrative offices.

Officials say once fully operational, Launch Complex 2 is expected to employ up to 30 people in engineering, launch safety, and administrative positions. This number could go up as flights increase, Beck says. 

          

 

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