Rocket Lab will help two U.S. federal agencies and an Australian academia-based team launch and deploy small satellite payloads.
The company said Monday it will provide launch services for payloads of NASA, the National Reconnaissance Office and the University of New South Wales’ Canberra Space.
Rocket Lab plans to launch the payloads via an Electron rocket from New Zealand’s Mahia Peninsula, with a launch window that begins on March 27.
The payloads include Boston University’s Ad-Hoc Network Demonstration for Extended Satellite-Based Inquiry and Other Team Endeavors, or ANDESITE, that supports NASA’s CubeSat Launch Initiative. This satellite would explore the Earth’s magnetic field via magnetometer sensors.
ANDESITE follows NASA’s Educational Launch of Nanosatellites 19 mission, a previous space effort that also used Rocket Lab's Electron launch vehicle.
“This initiative provides university teams like ANDESITE with real life, hands-on experience in conducting an actual space research mission in conjunction with NASA,” said Scott Higginbotham, ELaNa mission lead with the space agency's Launch Services Program.
The launch mission also includes three NRO payloads that the agency secured spots for via the Rapid Acquisition of a Small Rocket contract vehicle.
“It’s gratifying to be meeting the needs of national security payloads and student research projects on the same mission,” said Peter Beck, founder and CEO at Rocket Lab.