Aerospace Company Rocket Lab USA Inc. Proposes Accomack County Facility – WBOC TV 16

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Partly cloudy skies. Low 29F. Winds light and variable..
Partly cloudy skies. Low 29F. Winds light and variable.
Updated: January 12, 2022 @ 6:58 pm
(Photo: WBOC)

(Photo: WBOC)
ATLANTIC, Va.- Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced Tuesday that Accomack County is a finalist for a proposed Rocket Lab USA Inc. facility.
If selected, the proposal would see Rocket Lab develop a facility to support part production, assembly, integration and test operations to support the launch of its Neutron launch vehicle from the NASA Wallops Flight Facility on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. Rocket Lab would expand to two launch pads on Wallops Island — one to support the company’s Electron launch vehicle and one to support the Neutron.
Rocket Lab announced the Neutron rocket in March 2021 and expects it to be operational in late 2024. The rocket is designed to deliver a 17,600-pound payload to low Earth orbit and may ultimately support human spaceflight.
Due to its size, large assemblies of the Neutron launch vehicle are expected to be produced close to the selected launch site to minimize logistical and operational costs.
“The prospect of Rocket Lab coming to Accomack is incredible for someone who grew up just a few miles from Wallops Island,” Northam said in a statement. “I used to love watching rockets take off when I was a kid. Years later, I’m excited to work with Rocket Lab to help create exciting new opportunities near my family home on the Eastern Shore. Wallops Island is one of just four major launch sites in the United States—and the only one located in the country’s best state for business. I’m so proud of the work our Virginia team has done to get to this final step. I challenge everyone on the Commonwealth’s team, and everyone at Rocket Lab, to get this project over the finish line—and propel Rocket Lab and Virginia’s Eastern Shore to new heights.”
Founded in 2006, Long Island, California-based Rocket Lab is an end-to-end space company that delivers launch services, spacecraft components, satellites and other spacecraft and on-orbit management. Rocket Lab manufactures the Electron small orbital launch vehicle, which has delivered 109 satellites to orbit since January 2018, and the Photon satellite platform, which NASA has selected to support missions to the moon and to Mars, and which will support the first private commercial mission to Venus.
Rocket Lab is currently working with NASA to secure the necessary agreements and certifications for launches from Wallops Island.
The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with Accomack County, the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority and the General Assembly’s Major Employment and Investment Project Approval Commission to secure funding for the proposed project. The new facility would be constructed on a 28-acre site near the Wallops Island Flight Facility purchased by Virginia Space in 2021.
Subject to approval by the General Assembly, the state proposes supporting the project through a one-time $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. 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 as part of the proposal.
The Virginia Talent Accelerator Program, a workforce initiative created by the VEDP and Virginia Community College System, would provide customizable recruitment and training services at no cost to the company.


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