Rocket Lab has unveiled plans to develop a US launch site in one of four shortlisted space ports across the US.
Cape Canaveral, Wallops Flight Facility, Pacific Spaceport Complex – Alaska and Vandenberg Air Force Base are the four shortlisted sites under consideration by Rocket Lab, with the company to make the final decision in August 2018.
The new launch site, to be named Launch Complex 2, will serve both commercial and US government missions, expanding Rocket Lab’s ability to provide customers with the rapid, flexible and cost-effective access to orbit to support the increasing number of small satellites.
Rocket Lab founder and chief executive Peter Beck, said the four potential launch sites are being assessed against a range of criteria, including anticipated pad construction cost and timeframe, regulatory lead times and ongoing costs once the site is operational.
He said Launch Complex 2 will be designed to support monthly orbital launches, with construction to commence immediately after the final site is confirmed,
“The development of Rocket Lab’s US launch site strengthens our existing position as the industry leader providing frequent and tailored access to orbit for small satellites,” Mr Beck continued.
“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.”
“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 program is designed with this in mind and Launch Complex 2 is the next step in this strategy.”
Launch Complex 2 is expected to be completed by Q2 2019, with the first mission to be executed shortly thereafter.