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IET Satcom 2018

Rocket Lab to launch first commercial mission this month

(3 April 2018 - Rocket Lab) US orbital launch provider Rocket Lab has today confirmed it will open a 14-day launch window this month to conduct the company’s first fully commercial launch. The mission, named ‘It’s Business Time’, includes manifested payloads for Spire Global and GeoOptics Inc., built by Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems.

The 14-day ‘It’s Business Time’ launch window will open on Friday April 20, 2018 NZT. During this time a four-hour launch window will open daily from 12:30 p.m. NZT (00:30 UTC). ‘It’s Business Time’ will launch from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand. Licensed to launch every 72 hours, Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 is the world’s only private orbital launch facility.

Rocket Lab is the only private, dedicated small launch provider globally that has deployed satellites to orbit. ‘It’s Business Time’ marks the fastest transition a private launch provider has made from test program to fully commercial flights. This mission follows just three months after Rocket Lab’s January 21, 2018 launch “Still Testing”, which successfully deployed an Earth-imaging satellite for Planet and circularized the orbit of two weather and AIS ship tracking satellites for Spire Global using Rocket Lab’s in-house designed and built kick stage.

rocket 1

Rocket Lab's Electron orbital launch vehicle in flight, 21 January 2018 (courtesy: Rocket Lab)

“‘It’s Business Time’ represents the shift to responsive space. We always set out to create a vehicle and launch site that could offer the world’s most frequent launch capability and we’re achieving that in record time,” said Rocket Lab founder and CEO Peter Beck.

“Rocket Lab is the only small launch provider that has reached orbit and delivered on promises to open access to space for small satellites. We can have payloads on orbit every 72 hours and our rapidly expanding manifest shows this is frequency is critical for the small satellite market,” he added.

Rocket Lab can achieve an unprecedented launch frequency thanks to a vertically integrated vehicle manufacturing process that enables Rocket Lab to roll an Electron vehicle off the production line every week. To meet a burgeoning 2018/19 launch manifest, Rocket Lab has rapidly scaled production of the Electron launch vehicle across its three-acre headquarters and production facility in Huntington Beach, California. The company will produce 100 3D printed Rutherford engines this year to support a monthly launch cadence by the end of 2018.

About Spire Global

Spire is a data and analytics company that collects data for Earth from space, to help business and governments address previously insurmountable problems affecting everyone on the planet. Its constantly improving constellation of LEO satellites uses listening sensors to listen to the planet in real-time, gaining access to rich and untapped data sources totally off-limits to camera-based technology and inaccessible from the ground.

About Rocket Lab

Rocket Lab’s mission is to revolutionize the way we access space by developing and launching advanced rockets to put small payloads into orbit frequently and at a fraction of the cost of cumbersome traditional launch services. On January 21 2018, Rocket Lab reached orbit with the launch of the Electron vehicle and successfully deployed the company’s first commercial payloads. It marked a significant milestone in eliminating commercial barriers and ushering in a new era of unprecedented access to space. Founded in 2006 by Peter Beck, Rocket Lab is headquartered in Los Angeles with operations and a launch site in New Zealand. It is a privately funded company with investors including Khosla Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners, DCVC (Data Collective), Lockheed Martin, Promus Ventures and K1W1.