The complex will be home to production, assembly, and integration of Rocket Lab’s Neutron launch vehicle and is expected to bring up to 250 highly-skilled jobs to the region.
WALLOPS ISLAND, Va.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Rocket Lab USA, Inc (Nasdaq: RKLB) (“Rocket Lab”), a leading launch and space systems company, today broke ground on the construction of a state-of-the-art rocket production complex where the Company’s Neutron launch vehicle will be manufactured.
Construction to Begin on Neutron Manufacturing, Operations, and Launch Facilities in Accomack County, Bringing As Many As 250 New Jobs to Eastern Shore
Long Beach, Calif., February 28, 2022 (Rocket Lab PR) – Rocket Lab USA, Inc (Nasdaq: RKLB) (Rocket Lab), a leading launch and space systems company, today revealed it has selected Wallops Island, Virginia, as the location for its first launch site and extensive manufacturing and operations facilities, for its 8-ton payload class reusable Neutron rocket.
Aerospace leader expected to make significant investment for construction of new Production, Assembly, Integration and Test facility, prepare for launch of new Neutron rocket
RICHMOND, Va. (Gov. Northam PR) — Governor Ralph Northam today announced that Accomack County is a finalist for a proposed expansion by Rocket Lab USA, Inc., a global leader in launch services and space systems, which expects to make a significant investment to expand its U.S. manufacturing and launch operations. If selected, the proposal would see Rocket Lab develop a new facility to support part production, assembly, integration and test operations to support the launch of its new Neutron rocket from the NASA Wallops Flight Facility on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. Announced by Rocket Lab in March 2021, the Neutron rocket is expected to be operational in late 2024 and is designed to deliver a 17,600 pound payload to low Earth orbit, and may ultimately support human spaceflight.
RICHMOND (Gov. Ralph Northam PR) —Governor Ralph Northam today announced the selection of Major General Roosevelt “Ted” Mercer, Jr., United States Air Force (Retired) as the new Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director of the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority (Virginia Space). General Mercer was appointed by the Virginia Space Board of Directors this morning and will assume the role on August 1, 2021 upon the retirement of Dale Nash, who has led Virginia Space since 2012.
“Major General Mercer has extensive experience in space with the United States Air Force and in industry, and his proven ability to bring partners to the table to work toward a shared goal will greatly benefit both Virginia Space and the Commonwealth,” said Governor Northam. “Under his leadership, Virginia is poised to maximize the investments we have made in our world-class spaceport and launch into the future as a leader in space exploration, research, and commerce.”
General Mercer brings decades of experience in the aerospace field and executive leadership in both the military and private sectors. In 2016, Mercer was named Director of the Interagency Planning Office for the “NextGen” program at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). He later served as Director of the NextGen Collaboration and Messaging Office, where he ensured collaboration and coordination with partner agencies and other countries. Previously, he served 32 years with the United States Air Force, where his duties ranged from commanding the 30th Space Wing to commanding a space lift logistics group, developing national security policy, and serving as Deputy Director of Operations for the Air Force Space Command Headquarters at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
“S.S. Katherine Johnson” ready for liftoff aboard Antares rocket carrying vital supplies and equipment for the crew aboard the station
WALLOPS, Va., February 19, 2021 (Northrop Grumman PR) – Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) is set to launch the company’s 15th resupply mission (NG-15) to the International Space Station under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Service-2 contract. The NG-15 mission’s Cygnus spacecraft will launch aboard the company’s Antares rocket with nearly 8,000 pounds of scientific research, supplies and hardware for the crew aboard the station.
WASHINGTON, D.C. (NASA PR) — NASA has awarded a contract to the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority of Norfolk, Virginia for the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport III (MARS III) follow-on contract. The contractor will provide launch site services supporting missions conducted from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility, Wallops, Virginia.
This is a cost-no-fee, fixed-price indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract valued at $49 million. The effective ordering period for issuing tasks under the contract began December 8 for five years through December 7, 2019.
Services under the contract will be performed at Wallops and the contractor’s off-site facilities.
Space News has a bit more information about Orbital Sciences Corporation’s lawsuit against the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority (VCSFA). Orbital purchased hardware from VCSFA after the authority ran into cost overruns and delays in building a new launch complex for the company’s Antares rocket.
Orbital bought $42 million worth of hardware, with the understanding that Virginia would eventually buy these assets back, the complaint says. The state bought back about $25.5 million worth of hardware in 2012, but balked at repurchasing a horizontal rocket transporter and associated hardware. The state argued this hardware could only be used for Antares and therefore was not a reimbursable cost. Orbital disagreed.
The Aerospace Corp., a federally funded think tank specializing in military space, was brought in to mediate and ruled in Orbital’s favor in 2012, according to the complaint. Orbital subsequently sought payment but was told June 5 by Virginia Transportation Secretary Sean Connaughton that the state would not pay. Connaughton informed Orbital of the state’s decision during a meeting of the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority’s board of directors, according to the complaint.
Orbital Sciences Corporation has filed a lawsuit against the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority (VCSFA) over payments the company says it is due for supporting improvements at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) on Wallops Island, according to Courthouse News Service.
In the lawsuit, Orbital says it had to step in to save the project when VCSFA began to run out of money while making improvements needed to support the launch of the company’s Antares rockets and Cygnus freighters from the spaceport. Orbital is seeking $16.5 million plus interest.
The company said it lent the money to the authority in the form of an asset purchase in which Orbital bought various pieces of space equipment, including launch pad hydraulics and transporter vehicles; Under the terms of the agreement, Virginia was buy back the assets upon completion.
But the commonwealth failed to hold its end of the bargain, Orbital says.
“In the last six years, Orbital has invested of over $150 million in Virginia, and total Orbital headcount in the Commonwealth has increased by almost 200 new employees,” the company states. “Overall, Orbital has invested a total of $660 million in the development of its Antares rocket and related space system that will deliver cargo to the ISS on nine missions to be flown out of MARS.”
A. Thomas Young, the former director of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Goddard Space Flight Center and former president and chief operating officer of Martin Marietta, is the latest appointment the revamped Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority (VCSFA) Board of Directors.
The revamped Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority will receive $7.5 million annually in transportation funding under a measure approved by the Legislature. The funding will be used to develop the growing Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) on Wallops Island.
Legislators also approved other changes designed to give the Authority a stronger focus, including a smaller board of directors and the creation of a strategic plan.
Outlining his budget proposal to state legislators, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell has proposed spending an additional $4 million on the state-run spaceport on Wallops Island and restructuring the body that oversees it.
“We should also be at the forefront of another growing part of the private sector: the space industry. We will introduce legislation to restructure the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority and turn it into a true independent agency to develop the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport into the number one commercial space flight facility in the nation, and we have added $4 million in targeted new spaceport investments in the budget,” McDonnell said in prepared remarks.
Virginia should invest in making the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) on Wallops Island into a multi-use launch facility capable of handling missions for more than just Orbital Sciences Corporation’s (OSC) new Taurus II rocket, according to a new consulting report.
The review by KPMG includes a recommendations on further developing the commercial launch base and restructuring the Virginia Commercial Space Flight Authority (VCSFA), the state-funded organization which oversees MARS. One controversial recommendation is to strip OSC of its guaranteed seat on VCSFA’s Board of Directors, which KPMG calls a disincentive for other companies that want to use the spaceport.
A new analysis shows that Virginia’s diverse space industry is highly competitive with those in other states, and it makes a half dozen recommendations on how the Commonwealth can improve its standing with additional government and private spending.
“The Commonwealth’s industry diversity is a major advantage in the future growth of the industry. These space assets currently align in a way that with a number of strategic financial investments, Virginia’s already robust space presence can be tailored to foster development over the coming decades,” reads the 32-page report written by the Performance Management Group @ Virginia Commonwealth University.
Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell has signed a law that earmarks any state income tax generated by human space flight or human space flight training to be directed to the Virgin Commercial Space Flight Authority. The measure was supported by Virginia-based Space Adventures because it would direct taxes that it pays to the state toward improving facilities on Wallops Island that it might use for its activities. Space Adventures has said that it will not directly fund infrastructure improvements.
Jack Kennedy tells me that a measure to earmark funding for the Virginiia Commercial Space Flight Authority has passed the House of Delegates by a vote of 89-8 after being approved unanimously by the Senate. The measure now heads to Gov. Robert McDonnell for his signature.
The bill earmarks any state income tax generated by human space flight or human space flight training to be directed to the space authority. The measure was supported by Virginia-based Space Adventures because it would direct taxes that it pays to the state toward improving facilities on Wallops Island that it might use for its activities. Space Adventures has said that it will not directly fund infrastructure improvements.