Smallsat launcher Rocket Lab has started construction on a new Long Beach, California, facility which will serve as its headquarters, provide incremental production capacity, and Mission Control Center capabilities. The facility is scheduled for completion in the second quarter of 2020.
The complex has been designed to produce more than 12 of Rocket Lab’s Electron launch vehicles each year to support a monthly launch cadence from the company’s first U.S. launch site, Launch Complex 2 in Wallops Island, Virginia. Rocket Lab is also expanding production facilities for its flagship Rutherford engine, with the goal of producing more than 150 engines for the Electron in 2020.
The new Long Beach complex will support end-to-end production and testing of Rocket Lab satellites, with the first satellites booked to launch on Electron as early as the third quarter of 2020. By operating two launch sites and two Mission Control Centers, Rocket Lab plans to conduct simultaneous launches from Launch Complexes 1 and 2. Launch Complex 1 and Rocket Lab’s current Mission Control are in New Zealand.
“As we enter our third year of orbital launches and expand into satellite manufacturing, we’re investing in major infrastructure and growing our team to provide frequent and reliable access to orbit for small satellites,” Rocket Lab Founder and CEO, Peter Beck said. “Long Beach is an ideal location for our team; it has a vibrant space community, it’s close to many of our suppliers and offers room to grow as our operations do.”
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