SmallSat launch provider Rocket Lab has announced plans to build the company’s second launch pad at Wallops Flight Facility. The provider hopes to launch their first mission from their Wallops pad towards the end of 2019.
According to Rocket Lab CEO Peter Beck, the provider’s Wallops launch pad will be utilised to provide dedicated bespoke launch services to customers like US government agencies. The pad in Mahia, New Zealand will remain the provider’s high-frequency launch facility with a proposed capacity of up to 120 launches a year.
“Accessing space should be simple, seamless and tailored to our customers’ missions – from idea to orbit,” said Rocket Lab founder and CEO Peter Beck. “Launching from a second pad builds on Rocket Lab’s ability to offer the small satellite industry unmatched schedule and launch location flexibility”
In addition to the LC-2 launch pad, Rocket Lab plans to construct a number of support facilities at Wallops. According to the provider, the new facilities will include a launch vehicle integration and assembly building, a command and control centre, and customer facilities.
Although Mahia and Wallops will be dedicated Electron launch pads, Rocket Lab has already signed an agreement with Cape Canaveral in Florida and the Pacific Spaceport Complex in Alaska. These agreements will allow Rocket Lab to launch from existing facilities as and when is required.
Rocket Lab’s primary launch vehicle is the Electron rocket. The diminutive rocket stands 17 meters high and has a diameter of 1.2 meters. Thus far, the provider has only made two Electron launch attempts, with the first ending in failure. However, it was later discovered that the vehicle had failed due to telemetry issues from the ground and a second launch attempt was completed successfully.
The launch of a third Electron rocket was originally scheduled for earlier this year. However, the launch has suffered a number of setbacks with the provider hoping to finally launch their “It’s Business Time” mission in November.