MISSION ACCOMPLISHED: Actor William Shatner, Star Trek’s Captain James T. Kirk, signs an Electron rocket at the opening of Rocket Lab in Auckland.

It takes a rocket man to launch a rocket lab.

William Shatner, known to millions as Star Trek’s original Captain James T. Kirk, opened Rocket Lab’s new high-volume production facility in Mt Wellington, Auckland, today. (October 12, 2018) The legendary actor was watched by invited guests including Company-X’s David Hallett and Chris Gardner.

William, who performed Elton John’s pop hit Rocket Man at the 1978 Science Fiction Film Awards, was joined at the opening ceremony of the Levene Place, Mt Wellington, facility by Rocket Lab chief executive Peter Beck.

Rocket Lab’s new production facility and expands the company’s global footprint.

The new 7,500 sq/m (80,700 sq/ft) rocket development and production facility adds to Rocket Lab’s existing production facility and headquarters in Huntington Beach, California. The new facility rethinks the way orbital rockets are built and brings Rocket Lab’s manufacturing footprint to more than 4.5 acres and enables the company to build an Electron rocket every week.

“Every detail of the Rocket Lab launch system has been designed to provide small satellites with rapid and reliable access to space. This requires the ability to manufacture launch vehicles at an unprecedented rate, so we’ve expanded our global production capability to build and launch an Electron rocket to orbit every week,” Beck said.

MISSION CONTROL: The heart of Rocket Lab’s Auckland operation.

“We have the team, the industry-leading launch vehicle, the global production facilities and the launch sites to liberate the small satellite market. Rocket Lab has opened access to orbit.”

Electron launch vehicles undergo final assembly at the new Auckland facility, where all parts go through a streamlined process for testing and integration into the rocket before launch from Rocket Lab’s private orbital launch pad, Launch Complex 1, on the Māhia Peninsula in Hawke’s Bay.

All Electron launches, including the upcoming It’s Business Time launch in November, will be commanded from the new Mission Control at the Auckland facility. This Mission Control will serve launches from Launch Complex 1 in Māhia, as well as Rocket Lab’s US launch site, which is currently undergoing final selection. The new production facility will house more than 200 of Rocket Lab’s growing team of 330 people. Rocket Lab is actively recruiting for an additional 180 roles across New Zealand and the United States to support monthly launches in 2019, scaling to weekly launches by the end of 2020.

The design of Rocket Lab’s new Auckland facility, including the custom-built Mission Control, was designed by Auckland architects Designgroup Stapleton Elliott, with building and installation carried out by Format.

Rocket Lab develops and launches advanced rocket technology to provide rapid and repeatable access to orbit for small satellites. Our mission is to open access to space to improve life on Earth. Rocket Lab has developed the world’s first fully carbon composite orbital launch vehicle, Electron, which is powered by 3D printed, electric pump-fed engines. Electron is a two-stage vehicle capable of delivering payloads of 150 kg to a 500 km sun-synchronous orbit. Rocket Lab operates the world’s only private orbital launch site, Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand, which is licensed to launch up to 120 times per year.

On January 21 2018, Rocket Lab reached orbit with the launch of the Electron vehicle and successfully deployed the company’s first commercial payloads. It marked a significant milestone in eliminating commercial barriers and ushering in a new era of unprecedented access to space. Founded in 2006 by Peter Beck, Rocket Lab is headquartered Huntington Beach, California, and is a privately funded company with investors including Khosla Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners, DCVC (Data Collective), Lockheed Martin, Promus Ventures and K1W1.

ROCKET LAB: Electron rockets at the new production facility in Auckland.