NASA’s Facility on Wallops Island Entering New Commercial Era

The electron rocket at Launch Complex 2 on Wallops Island.

The electron rocket at Launch Complex 2 on Wallops Island.
photo: NASA

Private space company Rocket Lab is preparing for its first launch from US soil, launching its electron rocket from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

That mission Playfully named “Virginia is for Launch Lovers,” it’s scheduled to take off on Sunday, December 18 between 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. ET. The electron rocket will launch from Launch Complex 2 at Virginia Space’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport, located at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility.

“For those along the east coast, weather permitting, you can catch a glimpse of Electron’s flight,” according to a NASA Wallops tweet. “From afar, Electron will appear like a bright, fast-moving star in the sky.”

Weather permitting, the launch should be visible along a strip of the US east coast.

Weather permitting, the launch should be visible along a strip of the US east coast.
graphic: NASA

The launch was originally scheduled to take place on December 16, but was pushed back two days to allow time for NASA and the Federal Aviation Administration to complete the paperwork related to the Rocket Lab launch wrote on twitter.

The Electron rocket is expected to deploy three satellites for HawkEye 360, a leader in high-frequency geospatial analytics, in addition to three other satellites. Rocket Lab is based in California with a subsidiary in Auckland, New Zealand. The company has been flying its rockets from New Zealand’s Mahia Peninsula since 2017. However, for the upcoming launch, Rocket Lab is switching them over.

According to Rocket Lab, Electron’s new launch pad was built on Wallops Island to support its missions for government and commercial customers on US soil. “Launch Complex 2 complements Rocket Lab’s existing site, Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand, which has already launched 32 electron missions,” the company said wrote on his website.

With the launch imminent, NASA is hoping that more private space companies will come to Virginia for their launch needs. “NASA is helping to foster a growing near-Earth space economy and continues Wallops’ 35-year history of supporting the commercial launch industry,” the space agency wrote in a expression.

“We are seeing a very large number of jobs” coming from the electron and neutron activities at Wallops, Rocket Lab chief executive Peter Beck said during a briefing on Wednesday. according to SpaceNews. “It’s in the order of hundreds. We want to build a pretty significant footprint here.”

More: Rocket Lab is trying to answer the question “Are we alone?” by launching the first private mission to Venus

https://gizmodo.com/nasa-rocket-lab-wallops-island-commercial-launches-1849905595 NASA’s Facility on Wallops Island Entering New Commercial Era

Zack Zwiezen

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