Maryland Governor Tours Wallops Island

Launch complexes on Wallops Island, Virginia

WMDT-47 News has an interesting story the shows the importance of Wallops Island in Virginia to the Maryland economy:

On Monday, Governor Martin O’Malley will tour the NASA Wallops Flight Facility, one of the oldest launch sites in the world. NASA and the other organizations at Wallops, including the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) employ approximately 1,800 civilian positions, including government and contractor jobs, 700 of which are held by Marylanders…

In June of this year, the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center awarded the NASA Wallops Flight Facility Range Operations Contract to LJT & Associates, Inc., an engineering firm based in Columbia, Maryland. The contract runs for five years and is valued at approximately $117 Million. 

Wallops is located on the Delmarva Peninsula, which includes parts of Delaware, Maryland and Virginia. It is run by the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

O’Malley will view a new launch complex that is being constructed for Orbital Sciences Corporation’s Taurus II rocket, which is set for its inaugural launch next year. The new booster will send cargo freighters to the International Space Station and also launch satellites.

Virginia officials are keen on making the coastal facility into a competitive commercial spaceport. They have been wooing Bigelow Aerospace, a Las Vegas company that is planning to launch a private space station in 2014. Wallops is getting licensed for human space missions, although no definitive plans have been announced.