About 200 people will gather at a remote site in Northern Hawke's Bay this morning to celebrate the opening of the world's first private orbital launch complex, set to enable the highest frequency of space launches in history.
Auckland-based company Rocket Lab have completed construction of their Launch Complex 1 on Mahia Peninsula, which began in December.
It will be officially opened by Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce this morning.
The facility will be the primary site for launches of Rocket Lab's 17m Electron rocket, with launches able to reach the widest range of launch azimuths of any site in the world
Rocket Lab chief executive Peter Beck said that completing the complex was a significant milestone in the lead-up to the first test flight of the Electron vehicle.
"It's wonderful to celebrate the completion of the site with those who have helped us get this far and welcomed us into their community," he said. "Launch Complex 1 presents a considerable opportunity to change the frequency of access to space."
Wairoa mayor Craig Little said it was exciting to see everything was finally coming together.
"It's quite exciting, it's been a long time coming," he said. "It's always been so positive for Wairoa, and once rockets start blasting off from there I think we'll start seeing some positive spinoffs."
During construction of the Onenui Station site, Rocket Lab used local contractors and suppliers whenever possible.
They will be among the nearly 200 local officials at the site's opening this morning, as well as members of the newly formed New Zealand Space agency, Rocket Lab's team and customers.
Facilities at the complex include a vehicle processing hangar where the rocket will be prepared for launch, and a 50-tonne platform standing over 15m tall, which will tilt forward to lift the rocket into launch position.
With a dedicated launch priced at $7.6 million, Electron is the most affordable small satellite launch vehicle. Customers signed to fly on Electron include Nasa, Planet, Spire and Moon Express.
It will carry satellites featuring a range of services - from improved weather reporting, internet from space, natural disaster prediction, and up-to date maritime data.
The company is currently working through the qualification of the first stage of the Electron rocket and hopes to begin the test flight phase once qualification and launch licensing are complete.