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Rocket Lab Moves Headquarters to Long Beach

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
January 21, 2020
Filed under , , ,
Photon system (Credit: Rocket Lab)

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. (Rocket Lab PR) – Rocket Lab, the global leader in dedicated small satellite launch, has announced it will open a new facility which will serve as its Corporate Headquarters, provide incremental production capacity, and bring Mission Control Center capabilities to Long Beach, California.

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 U.S. 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.

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. 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.

Rocket Lab’s first U.S-based Mission Control Center will also be located at the Long Beach Complex. By operating two launch sites and two Mission Control Centers, Rocket Lab can conduct simultaneous launches from Launch Complexes 1 and 2 to meet the growing need for responsive space launch.   

Rocket Lab Founder and CEO, Peter Beck, says 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.

“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,” he said. “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.”

Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia says “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.”

There are currently more than 50 roles open for positions at the new Long Beach Complex, including positions in engineering, avionics production, Mission Management, Launch Services and more.

2 responses to “Rocket Lab Moves Headquarters to Long Beach”

  1. Steve says:

    Long Beach is a long haul from Wallops Island, not to mention fairly expensive real estate. Doesn’t make much sense to me.

    • duheagle says:

      SpaceX has been moving F9 stages around as full truckloads for a long time and the economics seem to work out okay. Electrons are small enough one can probably just call FedEx or UPS to send them to Wallops. Also, Rocket Lab’s existing production facility is just down the freeway from Long Beach in Huntington Beach so temporary or permanent transfers of employees won’t be too disruptive. Given that all the engines and avionics built in the Huntington Beach plant had to go all the way to New Zealand to be integrated and launched before now, the siting of the new facility makes reasonable sense.

      Also, I suspect that Rocket Lab was able to get a good deal on the building space it will be occupying in Long Beach. Their Huntington Beach plant used to be occupied by McDonnell-Douglas. I think the same is true of their new expansion in Long Beach as McD-D used to build the C-17 there and that complex has been at least partly disused for quite some time. Before recent reversals like the SpaceX takeover of a former Northrop factory a dozen years ago and Virgin Orbit and Rocket Lab moving into substantial digs in other beach cities, the aerospace industry in Greater L.A.-Orange County had been in long-term decline so suitable facilities were easily come by at bargain rates.

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