Rocket Lab, the U.S. headquartered New Space launch company with a launch complex in New Zealand, has now also established an assembly facility for its launch vehicles in Auckland, New Zealand. The facility was officially opened by Star Trek actor William Shatner.
The new 7,500 sq/m (80,700 sq/ft) rocket development and production facility in Auckland, is designed for rapid mass production of the Electron rocket, bringing Rocket Lab’s manufacturing footprint to more than 4.5 acres and enabling the company to build an Electron rocket every week.
Rocket Lab Chief Executive Peter Beck — along with special guest William Shatner, best known for his role as Captain Kirk in the Star Trek series and films — officially opened the new facility on 12 October 2018.
“Every detail of the Rocket Lab launch system has been designed to provide small satellites with rapid and reliable access to space,” Beck said. “This requires the ability to manufacture launch vehicles at an unprecedented rate, so we’ve expanded our global production capability to build and launch an Electron rocket to orbit every week,”
“We have the team, the industry-leading launch vehicle, the global production facilities and the launch sites to liberate the small satellite market. Rocket Lab has opened access to orbit,” he added.
Electron launch vehicles will undergo final assembly at the new Auckland facility, where all parts will go through a streamlined process for testing and integration into the rocket before launch from Rocket Lab’s private orbital launch pad, Launch Complex 1, on the Māhia Peninsula.
All Electron launches, including the upcoming It’s Business Time launch in November 2018, will be commanded from the new Mission Control at the Auckland facility. This Mission Control will serve launches from Launch Complex 1 in Māhia, as well as Rocket Lab’s U.S. launch site, which is currently undergoing final selection. The new production facility will house more than 200 of Rocket Lab’s growing team of 330 people. Rocket Lab is actively recruiting for an additional 180 roles across New Zealand and the United States to support monthly launches in 2019, scaling to weekly launches by the end of 2020.
Rocket Lab’s existing production facility and company headquarters are located in Huntington Beach, California, United States.