Wallops Island is not as well known as other launch facilities such as Cape Canaveral in Florida, but the facility has been operating since 1945 and more than 16,000 rocket launches have taken place there. Most of the rockets have been much smaller, including countless research rockets designed to gather atmospheric information. The launch pads are next to the ocean, just a few dozen yards from the beach.
Orbital Sciences is a veteran of the space industry and will be using Wallops Island for its upcoming Commercial Orbital Transportation Services test flights as well as ongoing resupply missions once they have received approval from NASA. The company hopes to make its first test flight before the end of the year, and has numerous rocket launches under its belt, including small air-launched rockets as well as larger traditional rockets delivering satellites to orbit.