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Peter Beck on the preparations for launch 10 and other giant leaps Rocket Lab has ahead. Video / Dean Purcell

Rocket Lab will build a second launch pad at its Mahia complex.

The new pad will allow for more frequent launches of its Electron rockets and the announcement comes shortly after it opened a pad at a new launch complex in Virginia in the United States.

The new Mahia pad will mean that 15 more jobs are created.

Initially opened in 2016, Launch Complex 1 encompasses a launch pad, range control operations, and vehicle integration facilities equipped to process two Electron vehicles simultaneously.

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The site is also home to two clean rooms for payload processing, each with dedicated customer rooms.

More than 25 people are already employed at Launch Complex 1 across a range of engineering, logistics, administration, and trades roles, and Rocket Lab says more than 300 suppliers across the Hawke's Bay have supported its operations. Across New Zealand it is estimated the space industry is now worth $1.7 billion a year.

The new pad will be finished at the end of next year.

With the creation of a second pad at Launch Complex 1 and gradually increased launch activity, more than 15 new roles will be available in the next 12-18 months.

It is the latest in a series of developments by Rocket Lab to support frequent launch capability for small satellites, including manufacturing automation at the company's Auckland manufacturing base, and continued development of recovery technology that will make Electron a reusable rocket.

Data to enable Rocket Lab to eventually recover its launch vehicles was gathered during the 10th successful launch from Mahia in northern Hawke's Bay last month.

The new launch pad is shown towards the top of the picture. Image / Supplied
The new launch pad is shown towards the top of the picture. Image / Supplied

Rocket Lab's vice-president – launch, Shaun' D'Mello, said the addition of a second launch pad would enable more payloads to reach orbit, while also growing the local team.

Pad B will be built within the existing area leased by Rocket Lab from Onenui Station, with no additional land required or new buildings to be built as part of the development.

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Preparatory work for the pad's construction is currently under way with local Wairoa District business Quality Roading and Services, with the site scheduled for completion in late 2020.

George Mackey, spokesman for Onenui Station's owners Tawapata South Incorporation, said it was pleasing to see the progress that Rocket Lab has made in a very short period of time.

The company, founded in New Zealand but now registered in the United States, began satellite launches to orbit last year.

Pad B will replicate the layout and systems of the current operational Pad A, including a 7.6-tonne strongback lifter

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Peter Beck on the preparations for launch 10 and other giant leaps Rocket Lab has ahead. Video / Dean Purcell

and launch mount for the Electron vehicle. Pad B will also make use of existing shared infrastructure, including the vehicle integration facility and range control.

Rocket Lab officially opened its US site on December 12 and Space.com reports the US Air Force will be the first to fly from the new complex.

Called Launch Complex 2, or LC-2, the new launch site is located at Nasa's Wallops Flight Facility.

Rocket Lab aims to launch up to 12 missions a year from LC-2, about one a month, once flights begin next year, Space.com reported.

The first mission will launch in the northern spring to deliver the US Air Force's Space Test Programme 27RM (STP-27RM) mission into orbit. That will launch a microsatellite called Monolith to see if small satellites can effectively carry "large aperture" space weather payloads.