Rocket Lab USA, a launch and space systems company, has kicked off operations for testing the Archimedes engine with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at NASA’s Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. The Archimedes Test Complex will be home to engine testing for the 165,000 lbf engines to be used on Rocket Lab’s reusable Neutron rocket.
The Archimedes Test Complex is located across a 1 million square foot area at the Stennis Space Center’s A Test Complex and includes the use and development of existing infrastructure of the A-3 Test Stand to develop and test Neutron’s Archimedes engines. With the opening of the Archimedes Test Complex, Rocket Lab will be able 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, and deliver large spacecraft to low-Earth orbit, the geostationary orbit, and interplanetary destinations. Neutron is also being designed to be in human spaceflight capable in the future.
Rocket Lab Founder and CEO, Peter Beck, says: “It was only a few weeks ago when we announced Stennis as the location of our Archimedes Test Complex and we’re already fast at work to get the site up and running to deliver Neutron. Thanks to our partnership with NASA and the state of Mississippi, we can begin to develop the existing infrastructure and test stand at Stennis to fast-track Neutron’s first launch. We look forward to breathing fire in the great state of Mississippi.”
Rocket Lab Vice President of Launch Systems, Shaun D’Mello, says: “It is thrilling to say we’ve reached the next step in the development of Neutron as we begin operations at the Archimedes Test Complex at Stennis. We are excited to tap into the workforce in the area to fast-track Neutron’s development.”
The Archimedes Test Complex will complement the under-construction 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. Together, the two sites can create hundreds of jobs on over two million square feet of operations for Neutron’s production, testing, and launch facilities.
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