LONG BEACH, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Rocket Lab USA, Inc. (Nasdaq: RKLB) (“Rocket Lab” or “the Company”), a global leader in launch services and space systems, today announced it has signed a double-launch deal with NASA to deliver the Agency’s climate change research-focused mission, PREFIRE, to low Earth orbit in 2024.
The two dedicated missions on Electron will deploy one small satellite each to a 525km circular orbit from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand from May 2024. The PREFIRE mission has specific LTAN (Local Time of the Ascending Node) requirements and a need for the second satellite to be deployed to space shortly after the first, which is made possible by Electron’s unique ability to deploy dedicated small satellite missions on highly responsive timelines. The launches will be the 7th and 8th missions Rocket Lab has launched for NASA since 2018.
NASA's PREFIRE (Polar Radiant Energy in the Far-InfraRed Experiment) mission will help close a gap in understanding of how much of Earth’s heat is lost to space, especially from the Arctic and Antarctica. Analysis of PREFIRE’s measurements will inform climate and ice models, providing better projections of how a warming world will affect sea ice loss, ice sheet melt, and sea level rise. Improving climate models can ultimately help to provide more accurate projections on the impacts of storm severity and frequency, as well as coastal erosion and flooding. PREFIRE consists of two, 6U CubeSats with a baseline mission length of 10 months.
Rocket Lab founder and CEO, Peter Beck, said: “Missions like these are core to the whole reason why Rocket Lab was founded in the first place – to open up access to space to improve life on Earth – and climate change is a hugely urgent cause for us all. It’s a privilege to be able to support this important mission and an honor to be a continued trusted launch provider for small satellite missions with big impact.”
The PREFIRE mission was awarded to Rocket Lab through NASA’s Venture-class Acquisition of Dedicated and Rideshare (VADR) program, a $300 million dollar five-year contracting vehicle for placing NASA’s science and technology payloads on U.S. commercial launchers.
PREFIRE joins a long list of NASA missions awarded to Rocket Lab, including the CAPSTONE mission to the Moon on Rocket Lab’s Electron launch vehicle and Lunar Photon satellite bus, the back-to-back launches in May 2023 of the TROPICS satellites for NASA’s hurricane monitoring mission, and the NASA Starling mission launched last month on Rocket Lab’s most recent Electron recovery 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, the Photon satellite platform and the Company is developing the large Neutron launch vehicle for constellation deployment. 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 170 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 pad in Virginia. To learn more, visit www.rocketlabusa.com.
+ FORWARD LOOKING STATEMENTS
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 March 7, 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.