Credit: Northrop Grumman

Long Beach, Calif. January 8, 2024– Rocket Lab USA, Inc. (Nasdaq: RKLB) (“Rocket Lab” or “the Company”), a leading provider of space launch services and advanced satellite technology, today announced it has been selected by and is under contract with the Space Development Agency (SDA) to design and build 18 Tranche 2 Transport Layer-Beta Data Transport Satellites (T2TL - Beta).

Rocket Lab will act as prime contractor for the $515 million USD firm-fixed price agreement, leading the design, development, production, test, and operations of the satellites, including procurement and integration of the payload subsystems. The contract establishes Rocket Lab’s position as a leading satellite prime contractor, providing supply chain diversity to the Department of Defense (DoD) through vertical integration. The contract comprises $489 million base plus $26 million of incentives and options and will be carried out by Rocket Lab National Security (RLNS), the Company’s wholly owned subsidiary created to serve the unique needs of the U.S. defense and intelligence community and its allies.

The SDA is procuring satellites in two-year "tranches" to build out a proliferated constellation in LEO to deliver needed space-based capabilities to the joint war fighter. The T2TL – Beta satellites, part of the Tranche 2 program, will be integrated into SDA’s Transport Layer to provide assured, resilient, low-latency military data and connectivity worldwide to meet DoD needs.

“This contract marks the beginning of Rocket Lab’s new era as a leading satellite prime. We’ve methodically executed on our strategy of developing and acquiring experienced teams, advanced technology, manufacturing facilities, and a robust spacecraft supply chain to make this possible. It’s exciting to now be delivering this capability for government and commercial customers alike,” said Rocket Lab founder and CEO, Peter Beck. “SDA’s acquisition approach favors speed, schedule certainty, and affordability to deliver next-generation space capabilities to the nation. We’ve proven Rocket Lab is capable of delivering this across our launch and spacecraft programs and we look forward to delivering it for SDA.”

All 18 satellites will integrate subsystems and components built in-house by Rocket Lab, including solar panels, structures, star trackers, reaction wheels, radio, flight software, avionics, and launch dispenser. This high degree of vertical integration gives Rocket Lab a rare level of control over supply chain, enabling efficiencies and certainty on cost, schedule and quality. The satellites will be built at Rocket Lab’s advanced spacecraft development and manufacturing complex within the Company’s Long Beach headquarters. The facility includes a 12,000 sq. ft. cleanroom and 40,000 sq. ft. of streamlined production & test facilities designed to support constellation class manufacturing and satellite assembly, integration and test for commercial, civil and national security customers. The satellites are scheduled for launch in 2027.

As a leading provider of advanced spacecraft and components, Rocket Lab has a backlog of more than 40 satellites in development and production. Rocket Lab satellite technology and components have been integrated into more than 1,700 satellite missions globally.

Source: Rocket Lab