Rocket Lab began construction of an orbital launch site on New Zealand’s Mahia Peninsula last week.
The site will be home to the first launch of Rocket Lab’s Electron vehicle, designed to lift a 150kg payload to a 500km sun-synchronous orbit. Construction of the site will be completed in the first quarter of 2016 in preparation for the test flights of Electron.
The Mahia Peninsula is on the East Coast of New Zealand’s North Island. Due to the area’s low population and New Zealand’s minimal air and sea traffic, it is possible to launch from the site at a significantly more frequent rate than other sites. Eventually, Rocket Lab plans to launch from the Mahia site multiple times a month.
When the site is completed, Rocket Lab will be the first commercial company to build and operate an orbital range.
From the Mahia site it is possible to reach a wide range of orbital azimuths. This enables customers to reach their chosen, dedicated orbits ranging from 39 degrees through to polar and sun-synchronous orbits.