Launching no earlier than September 2023, the mission will deliver the first of NorthStar’s commercial Space Situational Awareness (SSA) satellites built by Spire Global.
Rocket Lab USA, Inc. (Nasdaq: RKLB) (“Rocket Lab” or “the Company”), a global leader in launch services and space systems, today announced that it has signed a dedicated launch deal with Spire Global (NYSE: SPIR) (“Spire”) to deliver its first four Space Situational Awareness (SSA) satellites to low Earth orbit for its Space Services customer NorthStar Earth & Space Inc. (“NorthStar”).
The dedicated mission on Electron will deploy the satellites to a 530km circular orbit from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand during a launch window that opens in September 2023. To meet NorthStar’s program requirements, Spire has selected Rocket Lab to launch the satellites on an accelerated timeline within five months of contract signing. Spire has previously launched with Rocket Lab on Electron’s first two commercial missions, Still Testing and Its Business Time, in 2018.
NorthStar, headquartered in Montreal, Canada, is the first commercial SSA service provider to actively scan and monitor space from space. NorthStar's block of four satellites, built and operated by Spire, will be the first to simultaneously monitor all near-Earth orbits from space, delivering a radically enhanced level of SSA services to the global satellite community, with timely and precise information for space object detection, tracking, orbit determination, collision avoidance, navigation, and proximity alerts.
Rocket Lab founder and CEO, Peter Beck, said: “As with all satellite constellations, the precise placement of the first satellites for a particular mission is critical to the constellation’s future success. With Electron’s agility, reliability, and proven precision to place satellites exactly where they need to go, dedicated missions like this one for Spire and NorthStar are our bread and butter. Space debris is a global issue and the responsibility of all space users, so it’s great to be supporting a mission with a focus on making Earth’s orbit safer for everyone.”
This mission was originally manifested to launch with a now defunct launch provider but has been added to Rocket Lab’s 2023 launch manifest to provide an expedited launch, demonstrating Rocket Lab’s proven flexible and responsive launch capability.
Stewart Bain, CEO of NorthStar said: "With the untimely setback in launch services, maintaining NorthStar’s plan to launch this year had presented an exceptional challenge. But we are confident that we have found an excellent, proven launch specialist in Rocket Lab. We recognize the highly effective effort from both Spire Global and Rocket Lab to preserve our plans to make a meaningful contribution to the safety and sustainability of space by launching our unique services this fall.”
Frank Frulio, general manager of Spire Space Services, said: “We developed the Space as a Service model to take the previously prohibitive cost, complexity, and risk out of the equation. This allows innovative companies like NorthStar to develop and deploy cutting edge solutions from the vantage point of space, focusing on solving some of the most significant problems we face today. Rocket Lab offers the flexibility of a dedicated launch that meets the requirements of NorthStar's mission, giving us the ability to launch the satellites on our timeline and to the exact orbit needed.”
+ 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 163 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. To learn more, visit www.rocketlabusa.com.
+ FORWARD LOOKING STATEMENTS
This press release may contain certain “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. These forward-looking statements are based on Rocket Lab’s current expectations and beliefs concerning future developments and their potential effects. These forward-looking statements involve a number of risks, uncertainties (many of which are beyond Rocket Lab’s control), or other assumptions that may cause actual results or performance to be materially different from those expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. Many factors could cause actual future events to differ materially from the forward-looking statements in this press release, including risks related to the global COVID-19 pandemic; risks related to government restrictions and lock-downs in New Zealand and other countries in which we operate that could delay or suspend our operations; delays and disruptions in expansion efforts; our dependence on a limited number of customers; the harsh and unpredictable environment of space in which our products operate which could adversely affect our launch vehicle and spacecraft; increased congestion from the proliferation of low Earth orbit constellations which could materially increase the risk of potential collision with space debris or another spacecraft and limit or impair our launch flexibility and/or access to our own orbital slots; increased competition in our industry due in part to rapid technological development and decreasing costs; technological change in our industry which we may not be able to keep up with or which may render our services uncompetitive; average selling price trends; failure of our launch vehicles, spacecraft and components to operate as intended either due to our error in design in production or through no fault of our own; launch schedule disruptions; supply chain disruptions, product delays or failures; design and engineering flaws; launch failures; natural disasters and epidemics or pandemics; changes in governmental regulations including with respect to trade and export restrictions, or in the status of our regulatory approvals or applications; or other events that force us to cancel or reschedule launches, including customer contractual rescheduling and termination rights; risks that acquisitions may not be completed on the anticipated time frame or at all or do not achieve the anticipated benefits and results; and the other risks detailed from time to time in Rocket Lab’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”), including under the heading “Risk Factors” in Rocket Lab’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022, which was filed with the SEC on March 7, 2023, and elsewhere (including that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic may also exacerbate the risks discussed therein). There can be no assurance that the future developments affecting Rocket Lab will be those that we have anticipated. Except as required by law, Rocket Lab is not undertaking any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.