Rocket Lab USA Plans Wallops Island, Virginia, Launch Site-Manufacturing Campus
The company will launch the Neutron from a new Virginia Space owned launch pad that will be located within the NASA Wallops Flight Facility and Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. The 250,000-square-foot state-of-the-art complex will be constructed on a 28-acre site adjacent to the Wallops Island Flight Facility, which was purchased by the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority in 2021.
“Neutron is a new generation of rocket that will advance the way space is accessed, and Virginia makes perfect sense as Neutron’s home base,” said Rocket Lab founder and CEO Peter Beck. “Its position on the eastern seaboard is the ideal location to support both Neutron’s frequent launch cadence and the rocket’s return-to-Earth capability of landing back at its launch site after lift-off; and as one of only four states in the United States with an FAA spaceport license for missions to Earth orbit or on interplanetary trajectories, Virginia is home to an active and experienced aerospace workforce we can pull from to support Neutron’s development and launch. I’m thankful for the Commonwealth’s enthusiasm and backing of Neutron which, combined with the state’s rich heritage as an aerospace state, made it difficult to see anywhere else but Virginia as Neutron’s future home.”
Subject to approval by the General Assembly, the Commonwealth will support the project through a $30 million appropriation to Virginia Space for the infrastructure and operational systems. These improvements to the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport will enhance the capabilities of the Spaceport to support existing programs and provide access for new customers like Rocket Lab. In addition, the MEI Project Approval Commission approved an investment of up to $15 million to support site improvements and construction of a building to be owned by Virginia Space and leased to Rocket Lab.
Support for Rocket Lab’s job creation will be provided through the Virginia Talent Accelerator Program, a workforce initiative created by the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) in collaboration with the Virginia Community College System and other higher education partners, with funding support from the Governor’s administration and the Virginia General Assembly.
“Wallops Island is a prime site for aerospace and aviation operations, and it is an honor to officially welcome Rocket Lab to the Eastern Shore of Virginia,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Caren Merrick. “The Commonwealth has a strong aerospace and unmanned systems industry workforce, which is forecast to grow 8.5% over the next decade, and is well-positioned to provide the skilled talent that Rocket Lab will require for its Neutron launch site, manufacturing, and operations.”
This new manufacturing complex for the Neutron will be located within proximity of Rocket Lab’s Launch Complex 2, the company’s first launch site in the United States. It was built specifically for the Electron rocket, the second-most frequently launched U.S. rocket annually since 2019.
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