The Virginia Spaceport Authority owns and operates MARS, which is one of only five spaceports in the U.S. licensed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Office of Commercial Space Transportation for vertical launches to orbital trajectories and one of only three East Coast orbital launch sites with launch trajectories to achieve orbital inclinations between approximately 38° and 60°. MARS is a tenant organization on the NASA Wallops Flight Facility (WFF) complex on the Eastern Shore of Virginia at Wallops Island (Lat: 37.8 degrees N, Long: 75.5 degrees W).
We offer a competitive alternative for responsive, cost effective, reliable, and mission-capable space access. The launch pads and broad trajectory options at MARS provide access for small- and mid-class launch vehicles to the Earth’s orbit and interplanetary missions. MARS also has the potential to support sun-synchronous orbit missions to satisfy key requirements for science and imagery missions, such as global coverage of nearly all latitudes. The Virginia Spaceport Authority personnel provide technical support to prepare, enhance, and operate the launch pads in support of rocket customers. We also provide payload processing support and rocket integration facilities supporting the entire value chain. The MARS UAS Airfield enables a variety of operations supported by the Virginia Spaceport Authority dedicated staff.
This launch complex is designed for liquid fuel rockets, such as the Northrop Grumman Antares, and capable of supporting multi-customer use. Late Load Enhancements to accommodate the loading of time-sensitive experiments can be accomplished as late as 24 hours before liftoff, expanding the possible range of missions.
This launch complex is designed for solid fuel, small- to mid-class launch vehicles, such as the Northrop Grumman Minotaur I, IV and V rockets. This complex can be reconfigured to host most small-class launch vehicles on the market.
This launch complex handles fuels, oxidizers, and pneumatic supplies required to load small-class launch vehicles. Launch Pad-0C leverages systems from the Pad-0A complex to minimize costs.
Integration and Control Facility
This facility supports small launch vehicle operations. It contains space for horizontal integration of launch vehicles, non-hazardous processing and encapsulation of spacecraft, and control and support staffing space for the launch vehicle provider.
Payload Processing Facility
This facility provides spacecraft payload processing and fueling for any vehicle that can be launched at MARS. The newest of its kind in the United States, it can concurrently support unclassified civil and commercial missions, and classified national security payloads and missions. In addition to payload support, it provides launch vehicle integration and checkout space, which is directly adjacent to and under the same roof as the spacecraft processing.
Dedicated to unmanned operations, the UAS Airfield offers multi-domain training, testing, demonstration, and exercise opportunities for government and commercial users. With direct access to 75 square nautical miles restricted airspace at a secure federal facility, the airfield consists of a 3,000’ by 75’ runway, a vertical takeoff and landing pad, and a 90’ by 50’ hangar. MARS support personnel provide UAS integration and airfield management expertise, giving customers seamless and simplified access to the NASA testing range environment.
MARS Command Building
This secure office building directly outside the NASA Wallops Flight Facility features the Spaceport Control Center, large meeting rooms, and segregated/dedicated customer space.