WALLOPS ISLAND, Va. — Governor Ralph Northam on Thursday celebrated the opening of the Commonwealth’s newest facility to prepare rockets and payloads for launch at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. 

The new Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport Payload Processing Facility (MARS PPF), which held a ribbon-cutting ceremony and dedication with Governor Northam, represents a major expansion in capabilities for the NASA Wallops Flight Facility and the region.

“The new MARS Payload Processing Facility enhances the Wallops complex and is a critical part of our commitment to serve as a world-class center for space research, exploration, and commerce,” said Governor Northam. “With one of just four spaceports in the country located in Virginia, and one of only two on the East Coast, this investment will continue to position the Commonwealth as the premier leader in the aerospace industry.”

The MARS PPF will eliminate processing bottlenecks, enabling Virginia Space to serve multiple customers at the same time. With several cargo bays, the fully contained MARS PPF will provide government and commercial businesses with secure mission processing for multiple payloads in one facility from arrival to encapsulation.

“The committed support of the Commonwealth continues to be integral to the success of Wallops as an economic engine for Virginia,” said CEO and Executive Director of Virginia Space and the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport Dale Nash.