From the coast of Virginia, Rocket Lab USA Inc. launched its first rocket into space on Tuesday. The new launchpad of the company saw an Electron rocket take off at 6 p.m. local time. It transported a trio of tiny satellites into space from Wallops Island, Virginia.
Long Beach, California, is the home of Rocket Lab. Small satellites are the focus of the company. Since 2017, the company has launched all of its prior missions and test flights from its launch facility in New Zealand’s Mahai Peninsula. According to Chief Executive Officer Peter Beck, the new Virginia facility will offer the company more scheduling alternatives than its current one.
According to the company’s website, the Wallops location should yield around 130 launch opportunities yearly.
The Strong Demand Outlook for Rocket Lab This Year
Three satellites for HawkEye 360 launched from Tuesday’s launch pad. The geospatial analytics firm is based in Boston. For Rocket Lab, this was the first planned launch of the year. According to the company, it should have launched the mission in December. However, due to inclement weather, it was forced to postpone. NASA and the Federal Aviation Administration needed additional time to approve a launch license, causing problems for the company in December.
It took four years to plan the launch. The pandemic delay meant that it was originally postponed, and the need to test the rocket’s destruction mechanism, which terminates it if it strays off course. In July 2018, Rocket Lab announced intentions to construct a US-based launch complex.
The launch site lies inside NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility at Virginia Space’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport. This is where periodic cargo shipments to the International Space Station and other space missions are launched. Rocket Lab expects considerable demand for its 2023 launch after Tuesday’s success.
On Tuesday, the company’s stock finished at $4.97. That’s higher than the stock price of $20.72. This occurred shortly after going public in a reverse merger in September 2021.