Rocket Lab picks Virginia for second launch site

Rocket Lab groundbreaking
Rocket Lab CEO Peter Beck and other dignitaries pose with their shovels for a groundbreaking ceremony on Virginia’s Wallops Island. (Rocket Lab Photo via Twitter)

Rocket Lab officially unveiled its plan to build a commercial launch site at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport on Virginia’s Wallops Island, with liftoffs due to begin in a year.

The facility, which will be called Launch Complex 2, provides a U.S.-based alternative to Rocket Lab’s first launch pad on New Zealand’s Mahia Peninsula.

So far, Rocket Lab’s Electron launch vehicle has flown just two test missions, including a successful rise to orbit in January. The third liftoff, nicknamed “It’s Business Time” in homage to the New Zealand comedy duo known as Flight of the Conchords, is set to launch from New Zealand next month and put six small satellites in orbit.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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