A new 250,000 square foot $160 million Neutron Production Complex is being constructed on a 28-acre site located adjacent to the NASA Wallops Flight Facility and Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. And the complex will support Neutron production, assembly, and integration, and is expected to bring up to 250 highly-skilled roles to the region. And the construction will also soon begin on a launchpad for Neutron at the southern end of Wallops Island, near Rocket Lab’s existing launch pad for the Electron rocket.
The new center is expected to be ready by the end of 2024. The Neutron rockets are expected to eventually be used for human spaceflight.
Rocket Lab founder and CEO Peter Beck said, “Neutron is a next-generation rocket designed to serve the needs of the civil, commercial, and national security space markets and we’re proud to be delivering that capability from right here in Virginia. Today, we take a major step toward resilient and assured access to space for the nation – a capability that has become increasingly urgent in recent times. We are excited to grow Rocket Lab’s presence in Wallops, to add highly-skilled jobs to the local economy, and to play a part in reinforcing the Eastern Shore’s strong legacy as an aerospace hub. We are grateful for the continued support of the Commonwealth of Virginia and Accomack County for its enthusiasm in helping to establish Rocket Lab and Neutron on the Eastern Shore.”
According to the Pulse 2. Business web site, Rocket Lab Stock went up 4.73% on Wednesday following the ground breaking ceremony.
“The stock price of Rocket Lab USA Inc (NASDAQ: RKLB) increased by 4.73% Wednesday. Investors are responding positively to Rocket Lab breaking ground on the construction of a state-of-the-art rocket production complex where the company’s Neutron launch vehicle will be manufactured.”
The benefits to our local economy go way beyond the 250 new jobs Rocket Lab’s Wallops operation will generate. As more launches occur from Wallops, ancillary industries will also locate here to provide services for Rocket Lab and Northrop Grumman. Along with those industries, space tourism should flourish as well which will bode well for the region’s already established tourism industry.
An editorial in Tuesday’s Virginian Pilot said, “ In announcing the company’s decision to bring the new center to Wallops Island, Rocket Lab officials noted Virginia’s “rich heritage as an aerospace state” and the already experienced aerospace workforce here. The groundwork has been laid thanks to forward-thinking leaders. The sky is not the limit. It is the threshold of limitless possibilities.”