ROCKET LAB SUCCESSFULLY LAUNCHES FIRST ELECTRON MISSION OF BUSY 2024 LAUNCH SCHEDULE

Credit: Rocket Lab / Phil Yeo Photography

Mahia, New Zealand. January 31, 2024 – Rocket Lab USA, Inc. (Nasdaq: RKLB) (“Rocket Lab” or “the Company”), a global leader in launch services and space systems, today launched its first Electron mission for 2024, a space-junk focused mission for Spire Global, Inc (“Spire”) and NorthStar Earth & Space (“NorthStar”).

The ‘Four Of A Kind’ mission for Spire’s customer NorthStar successfully launched from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand at 19:34 NZDT / 06:34 UTC. Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket deployed four Space Situational Awareness (SSA) satellites to a 530km circular Earth orbit where the satellites, built and operated by Spire, will monitor near-Earth objects from space to provide timely and precise information for space object detection, tracking, orbit determination, collision avoidance, navigation, and proximity alerts. The mission was Rocket Lab’s 43rd Electron launch overall, bringing the Company’s record of successfully deployed satellites to 176. The mission was the first of a busy launch year for Rocket Lab, with the Company scheduled to launch more in 2024 than any previous year since the Company began missions in 2017.

The mission also resulted in the successful return of the rocket’s first stage after launch as part of Rocket Lab’s plan to evolve Electron into a reusable rocket. After launch and stage separation, Electron’s booster made its way back to Earth under a parachute and splashed down in the Pacific Ocean at approximately 17 minutes post lift-off. Rocket Lab’s recovery operations are currently underway to retrieve the stage and bring it back to the Company’s production complex for a post-launch review and analysis before proceeding to one of the program’s final tasks: reusing a previously-launched first stage on a future mission.

Rocket Lab founder and CEO, Peter Beck, says: “The success of today’s mission to deliver Spire & NorthStar to orbit, and the completion of our secondary mission to return Electron to Earth after launch, has been a fantastic start of what is set to be Rocket Lab’s busiest year ever. We have more missions booked in 2024 than we’ve ever scheduled before, and it is a real privilege to continue to deliver small launch reliability for our satellite customers on advanced missions like these and for all the missions to come in 2024.”

‘Four Of A Kind’ is Rocket Lab’s first Electron launch in a sold-out 2024 mission manifest that includes multiple upcoming launches for NASA; hypersonic technology tests on suborbital HASTE missions from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 2 in Virginia; the beginning or continuation of block launches for satellite operators BlackSky, Synspective, and Kineis; and several other launches for commercial and defense sector mission partners.

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 176 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.