Credit: Rocket Lab

Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 is the name of a private launch base in New Zealand located on the coast of the southernmost point of the Mahia Peninsula. This launch base is used by the American space company Rocket Lab for launching Electron rockets and was officially opened in 2016 after which the first rocket was launched from this location in May 2017. Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 became the world's first private launch base from which to launch satellites into orbit. Thanks to this private launch base, New Zealand became a major player in the commercial space sector as dozens of satellites have already been launched into space from this location.

Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1

Name: Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1
Alternative name: Mahia Launch Complex
Country: New Zealand (Māhia Peninsula)
Owner: Rocket Lab
Altitude: 854 m
Coordinates: 39°15'41"S - 177°51'55"E
First launch/spaceflight: 2017
Launch vehicle:

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After the space company Rocket Lab, which specializes in launching small satellites, started looking for a suitable location to launch its Electron rockets in 2015, they eventually arrived at a remote area on the Mahia Peninsula in New Zealand. In December 2015, Rocket Lab began construction of the launch complex after which it was finally officially opened in September 2016. The closest town to the Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1, Wairoa, is located fifty kilometers from the launch site and all that surrounds the launch site are cliffs that open into the Pacific Ocean. In order to ensure that Rocket Lab's launches would not cause too much trouble in terms of traffic control and impact on nature, the company made an agreement with the local authorities that no more than 100 launches would take place each year. At the launch site there is a hangar where the Electron rocket is assembled, a fuel storage area and a launch complex. In addition, in 2018 Rocket Lab also built near Auckland, New Zealand, a 7,500-square-foot factory hall where they build the components of the Electron rockets before bringing them to the Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1. In December 2019, Rocket Lab announced that it will build a second launch complex located near the first complex.

Launch pads

LC-1A: Electron
LC-1B: Electron

Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1
Credit: Rocket Lab / Supplied (NZME)

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Kris Christiaens

This article was published by FutureSpaceFlight founder and chief editor Kris Christiaens. Kris Christiaens has been passionate and fascinated by spaceflight and space exploration all his life and has written hundreds of articles on space projects, the commercial space industry and space missions over the past 20 years for magazines, books and websites. In late 2021, he founded the website FutureSpaceFlight with the goal of promoting new space companies and commercial space projects and compiling news of these start-ups and companies on one website.