WALLOPS ISLAND, Va. – Rocket Lab has chosen Accomack County as the location for its manufacturing facility and neutron launch pad. The neutron rocket has an 8 ton payload and is reusable. The manufacturing facility measures 250,000 square feet and is located just outside the gate of Wallops. Rocketlab says the new project will create 250 jobs and business leaders like Stella Rohde say the impacts will be felt by local businesses and the tourism sector.
“There are always people who come here to see the rocket launch, so it goes into tourism because they rent rooms in motels and they eat and they stay for a few days and they go around and see what what is the east coast”, Rohde
The manufacturing plant should also increase the frequency of launches. Accomack County Supervisor Ron Wolff says the number of launches can double.
“The increased number of rocket launches here in Wallops will double from about 10-15 to about 25-30 rockets per year,” Wolff said.
Local businesses will also see the impacts of a new facility. Jessica Hall works at Ocean Deli Pizza, the restaurant closest to the launch site, and says the store is usually busy in the days leading up to a launch, but the new manufacturing building will ensure a steady flow of customers.
“The manufacturing plant is going to have more employees, so we’re going to have more information about customers coming into the restaurant on a daily basis, not rather than when we just have these rocket launches,” Hall said.
Rocket Lab says they expect to begin construction of the Neutron complex soon, but wouldn’t give an exact date. Ron Wolff says he hopes the project will be completed within one to two years.