Los Angeles aeronautics company Rocket Lab has picked New Zealand's South Island as the site from where it will be be building the first commercial orbital rocket launch pad. The company head's said that the site should help improve the pace and cost of sending imaging and communications of weather monitoring, natural disaster management and crop surveillance, Bloomberg reported.
"Creating and operating our own launch site is a necessity to meet the demands of our growing customer manifest," Peter Beck, Rocket Lab's chief executive officer, said Wednesday. "With the launch frequency possible from this site, Rocket Lab is one major step closer to its goal of making space commercially accessible."
The exact location is at the Kaitorete Spit in New Zealand's Canterbury region, which was once the same site used by NASA for its sub-orbital rocket launches back in the 1960s, according to NBC News. It has satisfactorily met all of the company's requirements for the planned pad, providing technical, logistical and economical advantages.
With a sparse population and less air and sea traffic, the area is ideal for frequent launches at a fraction of the cost of other aerospace operations. It will also not compete for airspace with NASA.
Rocket Lab targets the launch pad, which is roughly the size of a tennis court, to be finished by the end of the year so that they can already make their first test run. But first, it will have to go through the process of complying with the requirements from government agencies and other parties before building the low-impact operation.
Rocket Lab was established in 2008 by investors like Lockheed Martin, Khosla Ventures and Bessemer Venture Partners.