Rocket Lab acquires SailGP Technologies’ New Zealand facility

Asia Pacific
4th October 2023

Rocket Lab acquires SailGP Technologies’ New Zealand facility

Rocket Lab USA, a global leader in launch and space systems, has acquired SailGP Technologies’ manufacturing facility in New Zealand, strengthening Rocket Lab's business in that location.

Following the acquisition of the site, SailGP Technologies will relocate its operations to Southampton in the UK to better support the expansion of the SailGP league.

SailGP Technologies, which works to deliver high-performance design solutions in various sectors including marine, aerospace and motorsport, has been a long-standing partner and supplier to Rocket Lab, providing advanced composite materials and components for its Electron rocket.

Rocket Lab, which pioneered the use of carbon composites in space by developing the world’s first carbon composite orbital rocket, will lease SailGP Technologies’ 70,000 square foot development and manufacturing complex in Warkworth.

Established in 2001 as Core Builders Composites (CBC), the New Zealand-based facility has been heavily focused recently on building and maintaining the cutting-edge F50 catamarans used in SailGP’s global racing league. This league has become one of the world’s fastest growing sport leagues and accounts for around 80% of SailGP Technologies’ work.

The majority of SailGP events are staged in the northern hemisphere, and have increased from five to 13 events since the launch. This growth has led to the league relocating its manufacturing facility to Southampton, with the aim of being fully operational by April 2024, to be near SailGP’s global HQ in London.

More than 50 employees of SailGP Technologies will remain at the New Zealand facility to join the Rocket Lab team, supporting growth in production of the Electron rocket, as well as the development of Neutron, Rocket Lab’s new 13,000 kg payload class rocket. As part of the transition, Rocket Lab will retain the facility’s manufacturing equipment, including an autoclave, ovens, composite material cutting plotters, CNC metal machining equipment, and large-scale CNC composite machining equipment, which supports accelerated research and development.

SailGP CEO Sir Russell Coutts said:

SailGP will continue to maintain a strong presence in New Zealand, including involvement with the ITM New Zealand Sail Grand Prix, which alternates between Auckland and Christchurch as part of a four-season partnership with New Zealand Major Events and the respective host cities, as well as the New Zealand SailGP Team, led by co-CEOs Peter Burling and Blair Tuke.

Rocket Lab Founder and CEO Peter Beck commented:

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