LONG BEACH, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Rocket Lab USA, Inc. (Nasdaq: RKLB) (“Rocket Lab” or “the Company”), a leading launch and space systems company, today announced it is preparing to launch two dedicated missions in March from the Company’s launch sites in the United States and New Zealand - within days of each other.
One Electron rocket is ready and in position at Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand to deploy satellites for Spaceflight Inc. customer BlackSky (NYSE: BKSY), a real-time geospatial intelligence company. Meanwhile, a second rocket is simultaneously undergoing final launch preparations at Launch Complex 2 in Virginia to deploy satellites for American space tech company Capella Space, the world’s leading provider of commercial Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) imagery.
Both launches are scheduled to take place in March with the launch windows to be finalized based on individual customer and range requirements; however, both missions are expected to launch within days of each other. Capella Space’s two satellites have been integrated to Electron at Launch Complex 2 and are ready for launch, while BlackSky’s two satellites are undergoing final check outs before integration to Electron at Launch Complex 1. Rocket Lab has also completed a Wet Dress Rehearsal at Launch Complex 2 and the mission is now awaiting range clearances from NASA and the FAA to proceed with launch. Meanwhile, Launch Complex 1’s Wet Dress Rehearsal is scheduled to take place in the coming days.
Running simultaneous launch campaigns across two continents once again demonstrates Rocket Lab’s ability to deliver responsive and flexible launch solutions to the small satellite market. The upcoming missions are expected to best Rocket Lab’s previous launch turnaround record set at Launch Complex 1 in 2022 when Rocket Lab launched the CAPSTONE mission to the Moon for NASA followed by a dedicated mission for the National Reconnaissance Office 15 days later.
Rocket Lab founder and CEO Peter Beck says: “The ability to run simultaneous launch campaigns and deliver a rapid launch cadence is exactly what Electron and our launch sites were built for. We’re dedicated to serving the responsive space needs of our customers across commercial and government space. It’s not a capability we’re promising in the future, it’s a reality that we’re delivering on right now.”
About the Capella Space Launch
Mission Name: Stronger Together
Payload: Two SAR satellites
Launch Site: Launch Complex 2, Wallops Island, Virginia, USA
Rocket Lab will deliver to orbit two SAR satellites for San Francisco-based Capella Space. Capella provides the best quality, high-resolution SAR imagery to customers globally for a wide range of government and commercial applications. The “Stronger Together” mission carrying Capella Space’s two 100-kg class satellites will expand Capella’s existing SAR constellation, increasing imaging capacity to meet growing customer demand. Capella Space delivers the highest-quality, highest-resolution SAR imagery commercially available with the fastest order-to-delivery time, empowering organizations across the public and private sector to make informed, accurate decisions. Its satellite imaging technology can penetrate all weather conditions and capture clear imagery 24-7, day and night, delivering accurate and timely data about what is happening across the Earth at any given moment. With this latest launch into low Earth orbit, Capella Space will expand its market-leading SAR satellite constellation in response to increased customer demand for SAR data.
Rocket Lab has delivered a Capella satellite to space previously on the “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Optical” mission in August 2020. Supporting Rocket Lab’s vertical integration strategy, Rocket Lab will also supply Capella Space with two of the Company’s own Motorized Lightbands; separation systems designed to separate the Capella satellites from Electron once in orbit.
About the BlackSky Launch
Mission Name: The Beat Goes On
Payload: Two Earth-imaging satellites
Launch Site: Launch Complex 1, Mahia, New Zealand
Rocket Lab will deliver to orbit two Earth-imaging satellites for BlackSky through global launch services provider Spaceflight, Inc. “The Beat Goes On” mission will deliver BlackSky’s high-resolution Gen-2 satellites to low Earth orbit, adding capacity to the company’s real-time geospatial intelligence and monitoring capabilities. BlackSky delivers on-demand, high-frequency imagery, monitoring, and analytics of the most critical and strategic locations, economic assets, and events in the world.
“The Beat Goes On” is the final mission of a multi-launch agreement with launch services provider Spaceflight, Inc., who managed the integration and launch services for BlackSky. As part of the agreement, BlackSky satellites have been launched on five previous Electron missions since 2021. Rocket Lab also delivered two BlackSky satellites to orbit prior to 2021, bringing the total number of BlackSky satellites deployed to orbit by Electron to nine.
Rocket Lab is also expecting to conduct a marine recovery operation for this mission to return the Electron first stage to its manufacturing facilities after launch.
About Rocket Lab
Founded in 2006, Rocket Lab is an end-to-end space company with an established track record of mission success. We deliver reliable launch services, satellite manufacture, spacecraft components, and on-orbit management solutions that make it faster, easier and more affordable to access space. Headquartered in Long Beach, California, Rocket Lab designs and manufactures the Electron small orbital launch vehicle and the Photon satellite platform and is developing the Neutron 13-ton payload class launch vehicle. Since its first orbital launch in January 2018, Rocket Lab’s Electron launch vehicle has become the second most frequently launched U.S. rocket annually and has delivered 155 satellites to orbit for private and public sector organizations, enabling operations in national security, scientific research, space debris mitigation, Earth observation, climate monitoring, and communications. Rocket Lab’s Photon spacecraft platform has been selected to support NASA missions to the Moon and Mars, as well as the first private commercial mission to Venus. Rocket Lab has three launch pads at two launch sites, including two launch pads at a private orbital launch site located in New Zealand and a third launch site in Virginia, USA. To learn more, visit www.rocketlabusa.com.
This press release may contain certain “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. These forward-looking statements are based on Rocket Lab’s current expectations and beliefs concerning future developments and their potential effects. These forward-looking statements involve a number of risks, uncertainties (many of which are beyond Rocket Lab’s control), or other assumptions that may cause actual results or performance to be materially different from those expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. Many factors could cause actual future events to differ materially from the forward-looking statements in this press release, including risks related to the global COVID-19 pandemic; risks related to government restrictions and lock-downs in New Zealand and other countries in which we operate that could delay or suspend our operations; delays and disruptions in expansion efforts; our dependence on a limited number of customers; the harsh and unpredictable environment of space in which our products operate which could adversely affect our launch vehicle and spacecraft; increased congestion from the proliferation of low Earth orbit constellations which could materially increase the risk of potential collision with space debris or another spacecraft and limit or impair our launch flexibility and/or access to our own orbital slots; increased competition in our industry due in part to rapid technological development and decreasing costs; technological change in our industry which we may not be able to keep up with or which may render our services uncompetitive; average selling price trends; failure of our launch vehicles, spacecraft and components to operate as intended either due to our error in design in production or through no fault of our own; launch schedule disruptions; supply chain disruptions, product delays or failures; design and engineering flaws; launch failures; natural disasters and epidemics or pandemics; changes in governmental regulations including with respect to trade and export restrictions, or in the status of our regulatory approvals or applications; or other events that force us to cancel or reschedule launches, including customer contractual rescheduling and termination rights; risks that acquisitions may not be completed on the anticipated time frame or at all or do not achieve the anticipated benefits and results; and the other risks detailed from time to time in Rocket Lab’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”), including under the heading “Risk Factors” in Rocket Lab’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022, which was filed with the SEC on February 28, 2023, and elsewhere (including that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic may also exacerbate the risks discussed therein). There can be no assurance that the future developments affecting Rocket Lab will be those that we have anticipated. Except as required by law, Rocket Lab is not undertaking any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.