Rocket Lab Chosen for TacRS Spacecraft Build and Launch

Rocket Lab USA, Inc. (Nasdaq: RKLB) revealed today its latest milestone, securing a $32 million contract from the U.S. Space Force Space Systems Command (SSC) for the VICTUS HAZE Tactically Responsive Space (TacRS) mission. Under this agreement, Rocket Lab will oversee the complete lifecycle of a rendezvous proximity operation (RPO) capable spacecraft. This venture falls under Rocket Lab National Security, a subsidiary dedicated to providing responsive and dependable launch services, spacecraft manufacturing, and space systems capabilities to the U.S. and its allies.

The VICTUS HAZE mission, part of SSC’s Space Safari initiative, is geared towards simulating a realistic threat-response scenario and demonstrating on-orbit space domain awareness (SDA). Rocket Lab, along with True Anomaly, will showcase their expertise in building RPO-capable space vehicles and command and control centers. The mission is slated for launch in 2025.

Following the spacecraft’s construction, Rocket Lab will transition into a Hot Standby Phase until further directives are issued. When the mission commences, Rocket Lab will receive the green light to launch the spacecraft into its designated orbit. Once in orbit, the spacecraft will swiftly undergo commissioning procedures to prepare for operations. Rocket Lab will adapt a Pioneer class spacecraft bus to meet the specific requirements of the VICTUS HAZE mission and deploy the spacecraft using the Electron launch vehicle from either Launch Complex 1 in Mahia, NZ or Launch Complex 2 in Wallops, VA. Subsequently, the spacecraft will conduct various dynamic space operations to showcase SDA characterization capabilities alongside True Anomaly’s spacecraft, the Jackal autonomous orbital vehicle.

This mission aims to enhance TacRS processes and timelines, illustrating the capability to respond to on-orbit threats promptly while validating techniques for SDA and on-orbit characterization. Rocket Lab’s constellation-class production capacity and advanced technical capabilities in in-space propulsion, precision attitude control, low latency communications, and autonomous operations play pivotal roles in enabling this mission.

Peter Beck, founder and CEO of Rocket Lab, expressed gratitude for being chosen by the Space Systems Command to collaborate on the VICTUS HAZE mission. He highlighted Rocket Lab’s track record in delivering advanced missions on accelerated timelines and emphasized the significance of streamlining the spacecraft’s entire lifecycle within a single team, ensuring unparalleled speed and value for the nation.

The VICTUS HAZE mission adds to Rocket Lab’s portfolio of contributions to U.S. Space Force programs, including the successful launch of the Space Test Program’s Monolith satellite in 2021, a recent contract to launch SSC’s STP-30 mission, a contract for the development of Neutron launch vehicle’s upper stage, and a substantial contract award from the Space Development Agency for the design and construction of 18 Tranche 2 Transport Layer-Beta Data Transport Satellites (T2TL – Beta).

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