After 10 years of operations, the Rocket Lab launch base in French Polynesia is getting a makeover!
The first announcement of its creation was like a bomb, with no pun intended, when the government signed a partnership agreement with the New Zealand company Rocket Lab in February 2039.
This company, which had shone at the time of its creation in 2010 being the first private company from a small country launching rockets for launching satellites at very low cost, had clearly expressed the desire to develop in the Pacific to help countries in the region a decade ago.
The government, with its existing logistical infrastructure locally, had reacted quickly and successfully negotiated with the company. The cultural link between the two countries and the geographical position of Polynesia had certainly weighed positively in the balance.
By 2039, the bases of Polynesia, the Marshall Islands and the Solomon Islands had been inaugurated in great pomp considering the innovation that it represented! Faced with giants such as Space X or Blue Origin looking for major industrial partnerships, Rocket Lab had bet on being a partner in the development of small countries, in exchange for still limited costs in terms of land, employment...
With its 3 bases in the Pacific, the company had the opportunity to gain numerous launching period opportunities and logistical facilities for major customers located around the Pacific area.
The other surprise, which generated a more intense controversy, was the installation of the base on the atoll of Fangataufa. Indeed, the difficult history of the island had pushed many organizations to protest against this choice deemed insulting to the veterans of French nuclear testing era.
The logic of the government was to consider that, facing the impossibility of reusing this atoll (and the one of Moruroa) for more standard human production activities (food, housing ...) it was better to make another use, less polluting and which involved the population.
Indeed, the joint venture created from time to time was, by the government's obligation, to include a trust-like structure that benefits the entire Tuamotu-Gambier population through a government representative appointed for this purpose, who would benefit a seat on the board of directors of the joint venture and therefore negotiates on an equal footing with Rocket Lab.
Thanks to this, the direct economic benefits for the population have been concrete and rapid. The base could be used for satellite launches for the management of local marine resources, monitoring the exploitation of the seabed ... all co-financed by this joint venture.
The current work will take 2 years to upgrade the floating launch site in the lagoon and launch activities will resume in the wake.
Led by the joint venture, the work is done by calling on local companies, although project management and project management, quite logically, are the responsibility of Rocket Lab.