Rocket Lab is pleased to announce the completion of the world’s first private orbital launch complex, Launch Complex 1.
Located on New Zealand’s Mahia Peninsula, Launch Complex 1 is set to enable the highest frequency of space launches in history. The facility will be the primary site for launches of Rocket Lab’s Electron vehicle, designed to lift a 150 kg payload to a 500 km sun-synchronous orbit.
New Zealand’s remote island location and low volume of marine and air traffic create ideal conditions for frequent launch opportunities. In addition, launches from the site can access a uniquely wide range of orbital inclinations – from 39 degrees through sun-synchronous.
Facilities at Launch Complex 1 include a vehicle processing hangar where the vehicle will be prepared for launch as well as a 50 tonne launch platform. The platform will tilt forward to lift the rocket to a vertical position prior to launch.
Satellites launched from the complex will be used to provide services including optimized crop monitoring, improved weather reporting, internet from space, natural disaster prediction, up-to-date maritime data and search and rescue services.
Rocket Lab has completed major milestones this year with the qualification of the 3D printed Rutherford engine, qualification of the second stage of the Electron rocket and the development of major infrastructure including remote tracking, test facilities and the launch site. The company is currently working through the qualification of the first stage of the Electron rocket and will look to begin the test flight phase once qualification and launch licensing are complete.