Rocket Lab's Electron rocket makes it into orbit in January after lifting off from the Māhia Peninsula.
Space-launch firm Rocket Lab has opened a fancy new rocket factory in Auckland designed to build a new Electron rocket every week.
The 7500 sq m mass production site in Mount Wellington will add to Rocket Lab's existing production facility and headquarters in California.
Actor William Shatner - best known for his role as Captain Kirk in the Star Trek series, and also as Denny Crane in Boston Legal - officially opened the factory on Friday afternoon.
Rocket Lab chief executive Peter Beck said the company had expanded its global production, to launch an Electron rocket to orbit every week by 2020.
"Every detail of the Rocket Lab launch system has been designed to provide small satellites with rapid and reliable access to space," Beck said.
The launching service will allow satellites to be transported, used for apps like Uber or Google Maps.
Electron launch vehicles will undergo final assembly in Mount Wellington, where all parts will go through a streamlined process for testing and integration into the rocket before its launch from the Māhia Peninsula.
Electron is a two-stage rocket capable of delivering payloads of 150kg.
Rocket Lab operates the world's only private orbital launch site, in Māhia Peninsula, which is licensed to launch up to 120 times per year.
All Electron launches, including an upcoming launch in November, will be commanded from the mission control in Auckland.
Mount Wellington will also control Rocket Lab's US launch site, which is undergoing final selection.
Rocket Lab will have about 200 staff of its staff at the factory and is hiring more staff to support its plans of monthly launches in 2019, scaling to weekly launches by the end of 2020.
After just two months in space, the 'humanity star' that resembled a disco ball, fell back to Earth and burned up in the planet's atmosphere.
The company also had faced some delays in launching its Electron rocket and eventually abandoned its launch window.
The future of Kiwi space exploration is being worked on in the most unlikely of places - a factory next to a second-hand car dealer, near New Zealand's biggest mall.
But inside Rocket Lab's gleaming new plant, things suddenly take a very Star Trek turn - and not just because of the presence of opening-day guest William Shatner. Three of the company's Electron launch vehicles (or "rockets", as most people call them) are under construction on the factory floor. Sub-assembly cells feature 3D metal printers. A giant CNC (computer numerical control) unit that can mill components the size of a bus will be operational within weeks.
A 17m tall Electron can launch a small satellite into low earth orbit for US$5.7 million ($8.7m) - a bargain basement price in aerospace terms. Rocket Lab had a successful test launch in January. After several delays due to weather and minor technical glitches, its first commercial launch is slated for next month.
It's a huge space - 7500 square metres, or four times the size of Rocket Lab's old assembly plant next to Auckland Airport.
Public relations being an important part of the space industry, the cramped area for a handful of guests at Rocket Lab's old Mangere office has been replaced by a roomy area where 150 guests can watch a launch - of which there will be many, if all goes to plan.
The new building includes a new Mission Control Centre, which will oversee launches from Rocket Lab's Mahia Peninsula launchpad, plus its pending new facility in the US.
Founder and chief executive Peter Beck says 16 flights are planned for next year.
By 2020, he wants a launch a week - hence the ramping up of production capacity.
The company is also on a hiring spree. Its staff has nearly doubled to 330 over the past year, with around 200 in New Zealand and the balance in the US.
Beck says it will hire another 180 over the next 12 months, split evenly between Auckland and LA. "That's a conservative estimate, based on our current number of projects," he says