Rocket Lab to Launch Responsive Space Missions for National Reconnaissance Office

LONG BEACH, Calif. (Rocket Lab USA PR) — Rocket Lab USA, Inc (Nasdaq: RKLB) (“Rocket Lab” or “the Company”), a leading launch and space systems company, today announced its next two launches will be responsive space missions for the United States Government’s National Reconnaissance Office.

Launching from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 on two Electron rockets, Rocket Lab is scheduled to deploy satellites to space for the NRO within only 10 days of each other. NROL-162 (“Wise One Looks Ahead”) will launch from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1’s Pad A no earlier than July 12, with NROL-199 (“Antipodean Adventure”) scheduled to launch from Pad B no earlier than July 22.

The NROL-162 and NROL-199 missions will carry national security payloads designed, built, and operated by the National Reconnaissance Office in partnership with the Australian Department of Defence as part of a broad range of cooperative satellite activities with Australia. The satellites will support the NRO to provide critical information to government agencies and decision makers monitoring international issues.

These twin missions will be a demonstration of responsive launch under NRO’s Rapid Acquisition of a Small Rocket (RASR) contract for launching small satellite through a streamlined, commercial approach, and are the third and fourth missions contracted to Rocket Lab by the NRO under the contract. NROL-151 (RASR-1) was successfully deployed to space on a dedicated Electron launch in early 2020, followed by RASR-2 on another Electron launch in June 2020.

Rocket Lab CEO and founder, Peter Beck, says: “Space plays such a critical role in providing immediate insights and informing time-sensitive decisions, so a responsive, modern approach accessing orbit is crucial. This is what we’ve established with Electron and multiple launch sites – reliable rockets and multiple pads at the ready to support the national security community’s responsive space needs. Our quick turnaround for these two national security missions will be just the latest demonstration of our responsive space capability, and we’re honored to be a trusted mission partner to the NRO once again for these important RASR missions.”

“Wise One Looks Ahead” launch details:

  • Launch Window Opens: July 12, UTC
  • Launch vehicle: Electron
  • Customer: National Reconnaissance Office
  • Launch site: Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1, Pad A
  • Mission type: Dedicated
  • Payload: NROL-162

“Antipodean Adventure” launch details:

  • Launch Window Opens: July 22, UTC
  • Launch vehicle: Electron
  • Customer: National Reconnaissance Office
  • Launch site: Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1, Pad B
  • Mission type: Dedicated
  • Payload: NROL-199

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 and the Photon satellite platform and is developing the Neutron 8-ton payload class launch vehicle. 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 147 satellites to space 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 second launch site in Virginia, USA which is expected to become operational in 2022. To learn more, visit www.rocketlabusa.com.

About National Reconnaissance Office

The National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) is the U.S. Government agency in charge of designing, building, launching, and maintaining America’s intelligence satellites. Whether creating the latest innovations in satellite technology, contracting with the most cost-efficient industrial supplier, conducting rigorous launch schedules, or providing the highest-quality products to customers, the NRO is always focused on protecting the U.S. and its citizens.

Since 1961, NRO has pushed the envelope of U.S. space-based intelligence collection with boldness and ingenuity. Today, NRO’s innovative legacy continues to thrive as it develops, acquires, launches, and operates the world’s most capable intelligence satellites. NROL-162 & 199 will strengthen NRO’s ability to provide a wide-range of timely intelligence information to national decision makers and intelligence analysts to protect the Nation’s vital interests and support humanitarian efforts worldwide.