Credit: Rocket Lab

Colorado Springs, Colo. April 11, 2024. - Rocket Lab USA, Inc. (Nasdaq: RKLB) (“Rocket Lab” or “the Company”) today announced that it has been selected for a $32M U.S. Space Force Space Systems Command (SSC) contract to deliver the VICTUS HAZE Tactically Responsive Space (TacRS) mission. The mission will see Rocket Lab design, build, launch, and operate a rendezvous proximity operation (RPO) capable spacecraft. The mission was contracted under Rocket Lab National Security, a wholly owned subsidiary that serves the U.S. and its allies with responsive and reliable launch services, spacecraft manufacturing, and space systems capabilities.

SSC’s Space Safari’s VICTUS HAZE mission will be an exercise of a realistic threat-response scenario and on-orbit space domain awareness (SDA) demonstration. Rocket Lab and a second performer, True Anomaly, will both demonstrate the ability to build rendezvous and proximity operation (RPO) capable space vehicles and command and control centers. The mission is targeted for launch in 2025.

Once the spacecraft build is complete, Rocket Lab will be entered into a Hot Standby Phase awaiting further direction. Once the exercise begins, Rocket Lab will be given notice to launch the spacecraft into a target orbit. After reaching orbit, the spacecraft will be rapidly commissioned and readied for operations. Rocket Lab will configure a Pioneer class spacecraft bus to meet the unique requirements of the VICTUS HAZE mission and launch the spacecraft on Electron from either Launch Complex 1 in Mahia, NZ or Launch Complex 2 in Wallops, VA. Once on orbit, the spacecraft will conduct a variety of dynamic space operations to demonstrate SDA characterization capabilities with True Anomaly’s spacecraft, the Jackal autonomous orbital vehicle.

The mission will improve Tactically Responsive Space (TacRS) processes and timelines, demonstrating the ability to respond to on-orbit threats on very short timelines and validating techniques for space domain awareness (SDA) and on-orbit characterization. Rocket Lab’s constellation-class production capability and discriminating technical capabilities in the areas of in-space propulsion, precision attitude control, low latency communications, and autonomous operations are key enablers for this mission.

“It’s an honor to be selected by the Space Systems Command to partner in delivering the VICTUS HAZE mission and demonstrate the kind of advanced tactically responsive capabilities critical to evolving national security needs,” said Rocket Lab founder and CEO, Peter Beck. “VICTUS HAZE builds on Rocket Lab’s proven track record of delivering launch and spacecraft solutions that enable advanced missions on accelerated timelines. The ability to design, build, launch and operate a spacecraft within one streamlined team is rare and will deliver unparalleled speed and value to the nation. We’re excited to take TacRS to the next level.”

The VICTUS HAZE mission joins a growing list of U.S. Space Force programs supported by Rocket Lab, including the successful launch of the Space Test Program’s Monolith satellite on Electron in 2021; a newly-announced $14.49 million contract to launch the SSC’s STP-30 mission on Electron within 24 months; a $24.35 million contract with the SSC for the development of the Neutron launch vehicle’s upper stage; and a recent $515 million contract award from the Space Development Agency to design and build 18 Tranche 2 Transport Layer-Beta Data Transport Satellites (T2TL - Beta).

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 180+ 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.

Source: Rocket Lab

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Kris Christiaens

This article was published by FutureSpaceFlight founder and chief editor Kris Christiaens. Kris Christiaens has been passionate and fascinated by spaceflight and space exploration all his life and has written hundreds of articles on space projects, the commercial space industry and space missions over the past 20 years for magazines, books and websites. In late 2021, he founded the website FutureSpaceFlight with the goal of promoting new space companies and commercial space projects and compiling news of these start-ups and companies on one website.