After more than 30 missions from Launch Complex 1, Electron is set to lift off from U.S. soil for the first time creating a new responsive launch capability for the nation
Rocket Lab USA, Inc. (Nasdaq: RKLB) (“Rocket Lab” or “the Company”), a leading launch and space systems company, today announced it is scheduled to launch its first Electron mission from Virginia during a launch window opening December 7 EST.
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Rocket Lab's Electron launch vehicle arrives at Launch Complex 2 in preparation for a December 7 launch window. (Photo: Business Wire)
The mission, named “Virginia is for Launch Lovers,” will deploy satellites for leading radio frequency geospatial analytics provider HawkEye 360. It will be Rocket Lab’s first lift-off from Launch Complex 2 at Virginia Space’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport within NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility – a launch pad developed to support Electron missions from U.S. soil for government and commercial customers. The launch window has been set following recent progress by NASA in certifying its Autonomous Flight Termination Unit (NAFTU) software, which is required to enable Electron launches from Virginia.
Launch Complex 2 supplements Rocket Lab’s existing site, Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand, from which 31 Electron missions have already launched. This extensive launch heritage already makes Electron the most frequently launched small orbital rocket globally, and now with two launch complexes combined, Rocket Lab can support more than 130 launch opportunities every year, delivering unmatched flexibility for rapid, responsive launch for government and commercial satellite operators. The launch pad and production complex for Rocket Lab’s large reusable Neutron launch vehicle will also be located at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport, streamlining operations across small and large launch.
“We are honored and excited to bring a new launch capability to Virginia’s Eastern Shore,” said Rocket Lab founder and CEO Peter Beck. “Electron is well established as the leader in small launch, reliably serving the responsive space needs of the commercial, civil, DoD, and national security markets alike. With our inaugural mission from Launch Complex 2, we are immensely proud to expand on this strong launch heritage by enabling a new capability for the nation from Virginian soil. We look forward to making history this December with our dedicated mission partners HawkEye 360, NASA and Virginia Space.”
"For our fifth cluster of next-generation satellites, we needed optimal orbital flexibility — and Rocket Lab’s new Electron launch pad in Wallops, Virginia provides the perfect domestic capability,” said CEO of HawkEye 360, John Serafini. “Rocket Lab’s inaugural launch facilitates our first mid-latitude satellite cluster, which will strengthen the diversity of our geospatial insights for our government and commercial customers across the globe.”
The “Virginia is for Launch Lovers” mission will be the first of three Electron launches for HawkEye 360 in a contract that will see Rocket Lab deliver 15 satellites to low Earth orbit between late 2022 and 2024. These missions will grow HawkEye 360’s constellation of radio frequency monitoring satellites, enabling the company to better deliver precise geolocation of radio frequency emissions anywhere in the world. Supporting Rocket Lab’s vertical integration strategy, Rocket Lab will also supply HawkEye 360 with separation systems produced by Planetary Systems Corporation, a Maryland-based space hardware company acquired by Rocket Lab in December 2021.
For launch fans eager to watch Electron take to Virginia skies for the first time can visit viewing locations on Chincoteague Island including Robert Reed Park on Main Street or Beach Road spanning the area between Chincoteague and Assateague Islands. The Virginia, Maryland and Delaware Atlantic beaches also provide good viewing locations. The NASA Visitor Center at Wallops will be open for this launch. A live launch webcast will also be available at www.rocketlabusa.com/live-stream from around T-40 minutes.
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. All statements, other than statements of historical facts, contained in this release, including statements regarding our expectations of financial results for the third quarter of 2022, strategy, future operations, future financial position, projected costs, prospects, plans and objectives of management, are forward-looking statements. Words such as, but not limited to, “anticipate,” “aim,” “believe,” “contemplate,” “continue,” “could,” “design,” “estimate,” “expect,” “intend,” “may,” “might,” “plan,” “possible,” “potential,” “predict,” “project,” “seek,” “should,” “suggest,” “strategy,” “target,” “will,” “would,” and similar expressions or phrases, or the negative of those expressions or phrases, are intended to identify forward-looking statements, although not all forward-looking statements contain these identifying words. 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 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, 2021, which was filed with the SEC on March 24, 2022, 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
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 152 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 second launch site in Virginia, USA which is expected to become operational in 2022. To learn more, visit www.rocketlabusa.com.