Rocket Lab moves closer to opening US launch facility with landing pad completion

Rocket Lab is nearing completion of its second launch facility — its first in the U.S., located on Wallops Island in Virginia. The company announced that it has finished installing the launchpad at Launch Complex 2, which is set to finish construction as early as the end of this year, with the first launches taking off from the site in early 2020.

All final build and integration of launch systems are expected to be done by December, according to the company, which will then allow for final testing and readiness prep of the launch site itself ahead of the first rocket actually launching from LC-2 next year. Rocket Lab’s first Electron launch from the U.S. will be a key milestone for the company — not only because it will double their potential mission capacity when combined with their existing facility in New Zealand, but also because a U.S. launch site will open up additional business for Rocket Lab in the form of lucrative government launch contracts.

We don’t yet know the first Rocket Lab customer from the Wallops facility, but Rocket Lab says it will reveal this info in short order, with a reveal planned for later this year.

LC-2 construction began in February this year, and the facility largely mirrors the existing Rocket Lab launch complex in New Zealand, which has been successfully serving clients with launches since early 2018.