Rocket Lab has been granted, a five-year Launch Operator License by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for Electron missions from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 2. This is a major milestone as the license enables the company to have multiple launches of the Electron launch vehicle from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 2, without the need to obtain individual, launch-specific licenses for every mission. Additionally, it helps to streamline the path to orbit and enable responsive space access from U.S. soil.
Located at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport within the NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Virginia, Launch Complex 2 has been designed to provide responsive launch capability to support U.S. government missions. Between Launch Complex 2 in Virginia and Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand, Rocket Lab can support up to 130 launches each year across a range of orbital inclinations.
The FAA Launch Operator License is a major administrative milestone ahead of upcoming Electron launches including a NASA mission to lunar orbit in support of Artemis, the Agency’s program to return humans to the Moon.
The Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment (CAPSTONE) mission will use Rocket Lab’s Electron launch vehicle and Photon satellite platform to deploy to the same unique lunar near rectilinear halo orbit (NRHO) that is planned for NASA’s future lunar outpost called Gateway. CAPSTONE intends to validate navigation technologies and verify the dynamics of this halo-shaped orbit to reduce risk for future spacecraft.
Rocket Lab founder and CEO, Peter Beck, said,, “Having FAA Launch Operator Licenses for missions from both Rocket Lab launch complexes enables us to provide rapid, responsive launch capability for small satellite operators. With 14 missions already launched from LC-1, Electron is well established as the reliable, flight-proven vehicle of choice for small sat missions spanning national security, science and exploration. With our upcoming missions from Launch Complex 2, we’re ushering in an era of even more flexibility and launch availability for these important government missions.”