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Lompoc area sees economic boost from scheduled rocket launches

Posted at 10:31 PM, Sep 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-13 01:47:59-04

A scheduled rocket launch was delayed for the second time at Vandenberg Space Force Base on Monday.

Businesses in and around the Lompoc Valley saw a large uptick in customers as people came to the area from out of town, even out of state to see the rocket launch.

The launch was called off for the second day in a row on Monday afternoon.

Firefly Aerospace canceled the 3 p.m. launch because of a “violation of wind constraints.”

People from around the region had driven to the Lompoc area to catch a glimpse of the rocket.

“I heard of people coming from the LA area, some people even coming from different states,” said Carlos Villa, owner of Eddie’s Grill.

One family drove up from Orange County to show the kids a real-life space launch.

“Mainly for the kids, we wanted them to have a nice experience and see for themselves what this is all about—learn something new and maybe open up their minds to something else in their future,” said Roberto Mora.

Visitors didn’t quite get what they were hoping for but the surge in tourists turned out to be a boost for the local economy.

“We notice the sales increase right away. This weekend was probably 40 percent higher compared to the weekend before,” said Villa.

Carlos is the owner of Eddie’s Grill, which recently opened a new location in Vandenberg Village.

“Considering how the situation is right now after the pandemic, we need something to recover. These kinds of things definitely help, and it gives people more hope,” he added.

Local businesses are looking forward to a brighter economic future with rocket launches drawing in visitors and multi-night stays.

“It’s not good that they canceled it, but more people will come in if they change the date and if they change the time, people stay longer,” added Villa.

Firefly hopes to reschedule the launch on Sept. 19 or the 20th.