Rocket Lab has tested an Electron rocket on its new launch pad in Virginia ahead of a launch that has been pushed back to later this year.
NASA awarded a contract to Rocket Lab Feb. 14 for the launch of a cubesat mission that will serve as a precursor for the agency’s planned lunar Gateway.
Vector, an Arizona-based company that has done test flights from California and Georgia, announced Oct. 19 it plans to make its first orbital launch from a Virginia site as soon as next summer.
A Virginia-owned launchpad damaged in October when Orbital ATK’s Antares rocket exploded moments after liftoff is almost fixed, but the company is at loggerheads with the state and the federal government over who should pay the last $2 million owed in repairs.
After the failure of an Orbital Sciences Corp. Antares rocket caused as much as $20 million in damage to a state-owned launch pad, Virginia’s two U.S. senators said they may seek federal funds to cover repair costs.
Should Orbital convert its Antares rocket into an all-solid-fuel vehicle, the company will have to overhaul its launch infrastructure on Virginia’s eastern shore and figure out how to comply with a NASA launch safety rule written to protect area bystanders from broken glass.