Rocket Lab eyes US launch site options

Electron rocket takes off from Rocket Lab, Mahia, on 25 May 2017. Photograph courtesy of Rocket Lab

US orbital launch provider Rocket Lab plans to expand its launch capability by developing a launch site in the United States to complement its Mahia pad in New Zealand.

The company has four US space ports shortlisted to launch the Electron rocket, it said in a press release yesterday.

Final selection was under way, with Cape Canaveral, Wallops Flight Facility, Pacific Spaceport Complex – Alaska and Vandenberg Air Force Base all possibilities. A decision on the confirmed site, to be named Launch Complex 2, was expected to be made in August 2018.

Designed to serve both commercial and US government missions, the US launch site would expand Rocket Lab’s ability to provide customers with rapid, flexible and cost-effective access to orbit — which the company said was needed to support the increasing number of small satellites.

Rocket Lab founder and chief executive Peter Beck said the development of its US launch site would strengthen Rocket Lab’s existing position as the industry leader providing frequent and tailored access to orbit for small satellites.

“Launching from US soil adds an extra layer of flexibility for our government and commercial customers, offering an unmatched ability to rapidly deploy space-based assets with confidence and precision,” he said.

“We believe the launch process should be simple, seamless and tailored to our customers’ missions — from idea to orbit. Every aspect of the Electron orbital launch programme is designed with this in mind and Launch Complex 2 is the next step in this strategy.”

The four potential launch sites were being assessed against a range of criteria, including anticipated pad construction cost and timeframe, regulatory lead times, and ongoing costs once the site was operational.

Rocket Lab was considering east and west coast options to explore a wide range of inclinations, matched against current and anticipated manifest demand.

Launch Complex 2 would be designed to support monthly orbital launches. Once the site was confirmed, construction would begin immediately — with the first mission from it slated for February 2019. Rocket Lab would construct its own pad infrastructure tailored to the Electron launch vehicle.

Alongside development of Launch Complex 2, Rocket Lab said it would continue to expand Electron rocket production at its headquarters in Huntington Beach, California, to supply complete launch vehicles for government and commercial customers.

US orbital launch provider Rocket Lab plans to expand its launch capability by developing a launch site in the United States to complement its Mahia pad in New Zealand.

The company has four US space ports shortlisted to launch the Electron rocket, it said in a press release yesterday.

Final selection was under way, with Cape Canaveral, Wallops Flight Facility, Pacific Spaceport Complex – Alaska and Vandenberg Air Force Base all possibilities. A decision on the confirmed site, to be named Launch Complex 2, was expected to be made in August 2018.

Designed to serve both commercial and US government missions, the US launch site would expand Rocket Lab’s ability to provide customers with rapid, flexible and cost-effective access to orbit — which the company said was needed to support the increasing number of small satellites.

Rocket Lab founder and chief executive Peter Beck said the development of its US launch site would strengthen Rocket Lab’s existing position as the industry leader providing frequent and tailored access to orbit for small satellites.

“Launching from US soil adds an extra layer of flexibility for our government and commercial customers, offering an unmatched ability to rapidly deploy space-based assets with confidence and precision,” he said.

“We believe the launch process should be simple, seamless and tailored to our customers’ missions — from idea to orbit. Every aspect of the Electron orbital launch programme is designed with this in mind and Launch Complex 2 is the next step in this strategy.”

The four potential launch sites were being assessed against a range of criteria, including anticipated pad construction cost and timeframe, regulatory lead times, and ongoing costs once the site was operational.

Rocket Lab was considering east and west coast options to explore a wide range of inclinations, matched against current and anticipated manifest demand.

Launch Complex 2 would be designed to support monthly orbital launches. Once the site was confirmed, construction would begin immediately — with the first mission from it slated for February 2019. Rocket Lab would construct its own pad infrastructure tailored to the Electron launch vehicle.

Alongside development of Launch Complex 2, Rocket Lab said it would continue to expand Electron rocket production at its headquarters in Huntington Beach, California, to supply complete launch vehicles for government and commercial customers.

Your email address will not be published. Comments will display after being approved by a staff member. Comments may be edited for clarity.

Poll

  • Voting please wait...
    Your vote has been cast. Reloading page...
    ​Do you think Gladstone Road Bridge should have its concrete parapet walls converted to steel railings on one or both of its sides as part of the upgrade and widening under way?

    See also:

    Opinion: