By Charlotte Greenfield
WELLINGTON (Reuters) – Rocket Lab, a Silicon Valley-funded space launch company, planned for a second runner-up in the United States opening Wednesday to supplement the remote New Zealand pad, the company said Wednesday
Rocket Lab said it would consider four locations on both the east and west coasts, and would make a final decision in August.
Founder and Chief Executive Peter Beck said in an e-mail message that the launch from the United States "adds flexibility to our government and business customers."
The Auckland-based firm has a battery-operated, in part 3-D printed rocket developed and regularly advertised its service as a way for companies to procure satellites into orbit.
The successful launch of a rocket deployed in January after years of preparation of the satellites was an important step in the global commercial race to reduce financial and logistical barriers to the spa sector
Rocket Lab scores US-American NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) as well as the earth-observation company Planet and the global data and analysis company Spire to its customers.
American locations were Cape Canaveral in Florida, Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, Pacific Spaceport Complex in Alaska, and Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, Rocket Lab said.
The company expected the first US launch to take place in the second quarter of 201
Rocket Lab operates the world's only private orbital launch pad on the Mahia Peninsula in northwestern New Zealand, Beck's homeland.
The island nation is well placed to send satellites for a north-south orbit around the poles, while the US is better for satellites flying from west to east.
(Report by Charlotte Greenfield, edited by Stephebn Coates)