Governor Moore Announces Rocket Lab to Open Manufacturing Facility in Baltimore County

Published: 11/17/2023

ANNAPOLIS, MD — Governor Wes Moore today announced that Rocket Lab USA, Inc., a global leader in launch and space systems, is planning to establish a Space Structures Complex to manufacture composite products for spacecraft and rockets at the former Lockheed Martin Vertical Launch Building in Middle River. The company will renovate 113,000 square-feet of space located at 2323 Eastern Boulevard to host equipment and supplies.

“We are excited to support Rocket Lab in expanding Maryland’s efforts in the space industry,” said Gov. Moore. “Renovating this significant Baltimore County site and creating dozens of new jobs will stimulate opportunity for the region, and we are certain that this new Rocket Lab location will become a prominent and successful facility in the state.”

Founded in 2006, Rocket Lab is an end-to-end space company with headquarters in Long Beach, California, a launch site in Wallops, Virginia, and manufacturing facilities across the U.S. and Canada. The company provides satellite design and manufacturing, space software and components, and reliable launch services to a wide range of customers including NASA, the U.S. Space Force, and the National Reconnaissance Office. Rocket Lab’s technology was also used in the James Webb Space Telescope, which was developed with help from the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, and is operated from the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore.

“Rocket Lab is a world leader in advanced composites through our launch and spacecraft programs, so this is a natural progression as we continue growing our space systems offering,” said Rocket Lab Founder and Chief Executive Officer Peter Beck. “We have the experienced team, manufacturing and test equipment, established supply chain, and heritage to deliver reliable composite products to the space industry at scale, and because we’re deeply vertically integrated, we can do it fast and at competitive prices. We’re incredibly excited to bring advanced Rocket Lab composite products to market for our customers. We’re grateful for the support from the State of Maryland, Baltimore County, Maryland Department of Commerce, Governor Moore, Senator Cardin and Senator Van Hollen, Congressman Ruppersberger and others who have welcomed us to the state. We look forward to building a bright future in aerospace manufacturing together.” 

Rocket Lab anticipates creating 65 permanent full time jobs at the new location by December 2025. The facility will enable the development and manufacturing of carbon-composite spacecraft buses, structural panels and assemblies, satellite dispensers, aeroshell and heat shields, composite overwrap pressure vessels, solar panel substrates, launch vehicle structures and more. 

The site will also play a role in the development and long-term supply of carbon composite structures for Rocket Lab’s new medium lift launch vehicle, Neutron. The new business line builds on Rocket Lab’s deep flight heritage in advanced composite manufacturing, including the development of Electron, the world’s first carbon composite orbital launch vehicle, as well as the company’s spacecraft buses, including the Photon Lunar spacecraft that delivered the CAPSTONE satellite to the Moon’s orbit for NASA.

To assist with project costs, the Maryland Department of Commerce is providing a $1.56 million repayable loan through the Advantage Maryland program. The company is also eligible for various other incentives and tax credits, including the Partnership for Workforce Quality program, the More Jobs for Marylanders program, and the state's Job Creation Tax Credit.

“It is a great opportunity for us to assist with Rocket Lab’s entrance into Baltimore County,” said Maryland Department of Commerce Secretary Kevin Anderson. “With our state’s close proximity to several federal and defense agencies, combined with Maryland’s abundance of talented tech and engineering workers, this facility is sure to bring much success to both Rocket Lab and Maryland’s innovative space industry.”

“We are fully committed to building a stronger economy, generating new jobs, and supporting our local workforce,” said Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski. “Rocket Lab’s planned renovation to the former Lockheed Martin site in Middle River will honor our region’s history of engineering and innovation while ensuring that our partnership leads to more job opportunities for our residents and communities.”

Rocket Lab currently undertakes composite work for launch vehicles and spacecraft across its facilities in Long Beach, California, Albuquerque, New Mexico, as well as Auckland and Warkworth, New Zealand. Composite development and manufacturing will continue at these locations, while the establishment of the new production complex in Middle River, Maryland, enables Rocket Lab to expand operations in proximity to the company’s growing assembly, integration and test complex in Virginia at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport and NASA Wallops Flight Facility, home to production, integration, and launch facilities for the Electron and Neutron rockets. 

The new Space Structures Complex expands Rocket Lab’s existing footprint in Maryland, where the company already operates a manufacturing facility for satellite separation systems and CubeSat dispensers in Silver Spring. 

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