Rocket Lab selects NASA Stennis Space Center for Neutron Engine Test Facility
by Staff Writers
Long Beach CA (SPX) Sep 22, 2022
Rocket Lab USA, Inc (Nasdaq: RKLB) has selected NASA's historic Stennis Space Center in Mississippi as the location of its engine test facility for its reusable rocket, Neutron.
The Archimedes Test Complex will be located within the larger A Test Complex at Stennis Space Center across a 1 million square foot area for 10 years, with an option to extend the lease for an additional 10 years. The Archimedes Test Complex will include exclusive use and development of existing industrial NASA infrastructure and the Center's A-3 Test Stand to develop and test Neutron's Archimedes reusable engines. Rocket Lab has also secured a capital investment incentive from the Mississippi Development Authority to further develop the facilities and infrastructure at Stennis for Neutron. By expanding Stennis Space Center to include the Archimedes Test Complex, Rocket Lab is expected to create dozens of new jobs and make significant capital investments in the state of Mississippi.
Neutron is Rocket Lab's reusable rocket in development, designed as a cost-effective, reliable, and responsive launch service to help build mega-constellations, deliver large spacecraft to low-Earth orbit, geostationary orbit, and interplanetary destinations, and to support a sustained human presence in space. Neutron will be powered by in-house designed and manufactured Archimedes reusable rocket engines and an advanced upper stage to enable high performance for complex satellite deployments.
Rocket Lab Founder and CEO, Peter Beck, says: "Before rockets flew to the Moon, they first had to go through Mississippi, and as we build a new rocket to reshape space access once again, Stennis is a fitting location for Neutron. Creating a test complex from scratch to the scale and complexity needed to test and develop Archimedes would have had an inconceivably long lead time, so the fact that we've secured Stennis and can leverage its existing infrastructure and test stand puts us on the fast-track to Neutron's first launch. The icing on the cake is having fantastic partners like NASA and the state of Mississippi behind us to bring innovative rocketry, economic development, and new jobs to the Gulf Coast."
Rocket Lab Vice President - Launch Systems, Shaun D'Mello, says: "The strong support, readiness and flexibility from NASA Stennis and Mississippi to bring engine test operations for Neutron to the state made Stennis the ideal location over other potential sites. Stennis Space Center's legacy in rocket engine testing, established infrastructure, and skilled workforce will be both a boost to Neutron's development and help grow Mississippi's already robust aerospace test capabilities, securing a future for the state in innovative technology development."
Rocket Lab expects to begin construction on the Archimedes Test Complex at Stennis Space Center quickly. At the same time, construction is continuing at pace on the Neutron Production Complex and launch site at Wallops Island, within the NASA Wallops Flight Facility and Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport on Virginia's Eastern Shore. Combined, the two sites represent over two million square feet of operations for Neutron's production, testing, and launch facilities. Further Neutron expansion will continue throughout the United States as the program develops toward first launch.
NASA says delayed Moon rocket passed fueling test
Washington (AFP) Sept 22, 2022
NASA said Wednesday it had successfully trialed the fueling process for its new rocket, after technical issues a few weeks ago halted two attempts to get the behemoth off the ground and headed towards the Moon. "All of the objectives that we set out to do we were able to accomplish today," said Charlie Blackwell-Thompson, launch director of the program called Artemis 1. The unmanned mission hopes to test the new 30-story SLS rocket as well as the unmanned Orion capsule that sits atop it, in prep ... read more
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