Take a virtual tour through Rocket Lab's New Zealand rocket launch facility

Darrell Etherington
Rocket Lab's Launch Complex 1 (LC-1) in New Zealand.

Rocket Lab is one of the extremely small group of rocket launch startups that is actually sending payloads to space, and the company sends all of its spacecraft up from a scenic peninsula located on the east coast of New Zealand. Why? It's ideally placed for high-frequency launch windows, which should help Rocket Lab send up even more payloads using its Electron spacecraft as it scales. And the side benefits are incredibly stunning views and vistas.

This tour of LC-1 includes a look at where Rocket Lab does final assembly for the spacecraft that it launches, which puts together parts made everywhere from Auckland to Huntington Beach, Calif. There's a look at how the rocket is rolled out and lifted for fueling and launch, and some insight into how Rocket Lab goes about partially muting some of the incredible volume of noise that's produced when it fires up its rocket missions.

Finally, there's a quick look at LC-2, the second launch pad that Rocket Lab is currently building in Wallops Island, Va. This will be the company's first U.S.-based launch site, which will unlock key launch capabilities for U.S. agency customers, and it's set to host its first Electron launch sometime early next year.