A new rocket launchpad in Virginia will create 250 new jobs as the state continues to be an ‘optimal location’ for the industry.
Rocket Lab has chosen Virginia for its Neutron rocket, which will create new jobs on a 28-acre site adjoining the Wallops Island Flight Facility.
The pad will eventually see the launch of the Neutron rocket from the site on Virginia’s Eastern Shore within the NASA Wallops Flight Facility and Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport.
The launchpad will be 250,000 sq ft and will be constructed on a 28-acre site adjoining the Wallops Island Flight Facility.
The new production site for the Neutron will be located near the company’s first launch site in the US – the Rocket Lab’s Launch Complex 2.
It was built particularly for the Electron rocket, the second-most regularly launched US rocket yearly since 2019.
Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin said: “Virginia’s industrial and innovation ecosystem and skilled workforce make the Commonwealth an optimal location for industry leaders like Rocket Lab”.
He added: “This important project reinforces the Eastern Shore’s legacy as an aerospace hub that offers the infrastructure for manufacturing and developing new technologies, and we look forward to a long partnership with Rocket Lab.”
Secretary of Commerce and Trade Caren Merrick added: “The Commonwealth has a strong aerospace and unmanned systems industry workforce, which is forecast to grow 8.5 percent over the next decade, and is well-positioned to provide the skilled talent that Rocket Lab will require for its Neutron launch site, manufacturing, and operations.”
Rocket Lab founder and CEO Peter Beck said: “Neutron is a new generation of the rocket that will advance the way space is accessed, and Virginia makes perfect sense as Neutron’s home base.”
The Commonwealth will aid the project by granting $30 million to Virginia Space for the infrastructure and operational systems, resting on the sanction by the General Assembly.
Support for Rocket Lab’s job creation will be issued through the Virginia Talent Accelerator Program which escalates new facility start-ups through the direct delivery of recruitment and training services.
The services are fully customized to a company’s unique products, processes, equipment, standards, and culture. The program offers free-of-cost services to qualified, new, and expanding companies as an incentive for job creation.
Rocket Lab is currently working with NASA to assure all essential agreements and certifications for launches from Wallops Island.