Rocket Lab Is on Its Way to Launch Rockets from Wallops Island in Virginia18th Mar 2022
The Virginia space industry is in for an exciting year in 2022 as Rocket Lab, an aerospace enterprise from California, will soon start launching from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport. They’ve been using their Electron launch vehicle since 2018 to send payloads to orbit. However all the planned launches from Wallops Island in Virginia had been postponed in the previous years. The problem is that it takes time for NASA to complete certifications for Electron launches. But there’s reason to rejoice: NASA has promised Rocket Lab they’ll be ready by February this year.
Rocket Lab Opens a New Era for Virginia Space
Up until now, the launchpads in the NASA Wallops Flight Facility were primarily busy sending the Northrop Grumman Antares rockets to outer space for deliveries to the International Space Station. Plus, they’ve regularly launched research rockets. But now, Rocket Lab plans to start with frequent Electron launches for their medium-class Neutron rockets. It’s exciting times for the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport as the state of Virginia granted $5 million to Rocket Lab to develop their launchpad.
Space-Related Startups Also Receive Government Funding
The good news for any startups that develop products around rockets is that the US intelligence and defence agencies are looking to invest in projects that boost the government’s space efforts. Many space-oriented companies have opened their offices in the area. One such example is TrustPoint. It’s a company that works on a satellite system for global navigation and operates in Silicon Valley and Northern Virginia. Another example is LeoCloud: a startup that aims to create satellite-hosted cloud services.
Virginia also happens to be the perfect spot to service clients from communities around the Department of Defence. These include defence contractors and federally funded research and development centres. So, we can expect more start-ups to expand their business to Virginia soon, after the Rocket Lab launches.