Rocket Lab expands footprint with new California HQ and production complex

Stephen Kuper

US and New Zealand-based Rocket Lab has announced it will open a new facility that will serve as its corporate headquarters, provide incremental production capacity and bring mission control centre capabilities to Long Beach, California.

Rocket Lab expands footprint with new California HQ and production complex
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Construction on Rocket Lab’s Long Beach Complex has begun, with the facility scheduled for completion in the second quarter of 2020.

The Complex has been designed to produce more than 12 full Electron launch vehicles each year to support a monthly launch cadence from Rocket Lab’s first US launch site, Launch Complex 2 in Wallops Island, Virginia.

Production facilities for Rocket Lab’s flagship Rutherford engine will also be expanded, with the company planning to produce more than 150 engines for the Electron launch vehicle in 2020.

Rocket Lab’s rapidly growing satellite manufacturing capabilities are a key driver behind the new Long Beach complex. In 2019, the company expanded beyond launch services and began designing and manufacturing Rocket Lab satellites to provide an end-to-end mission service.

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Rocket Lab founder and CEO Peter Beck said the new Long Beach Complex will mean larger production facilities, purpose-built customer experience areas and room to grow as the company enters another busy launch year.

Based on flight-proven technology employed in the Electron Kick Stage, Rocket Lab satellites are a complete spacecraft solution for a range of LEO and lunar orbit missions, from constellation development, through to technology demonstrations and hosted payloads.

“As we enter our third year of orbital launches and expand into satellite manufacturing, we’re investing in major infrastructure and growing our team to provide frequent and reliable access to orbit for small satellites,” Beck explained. 

The new Long Beach Complex will support end-to-end production and testing of Rocket Lab satellites, with the first satellites booked to launch on Electron from Q3 2020.

“Long Beach is an ideal location for our team; it has a vibrant space community, it’s close to many of our suppliers and offers room to grow as our operations do. The City of Long Beach has been incredibly welcoming, and we look forward to working with them to continue growing the local space economy," Beck added. 

Long Beach mayor Robert Garcia welcomed the announcement, saying, “We are incredibly excited to see Rocket Lab move to Long Beach. The expansion of this company in a city with an aerospace history as rich as ours will support new jobs and economic growth in the region.”

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