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NRO Taps Rocket Lab for Back-to-Back Smallsat Missions in 2021; Peter Beck Quoted

Peter Beck
Peter Beck
Peter Beck
Peter Beck

The National Reconnaissance Office has awarded Rocket Lab a contract to send small satellites to orbit as part of two back-to-back missions in spring 2021.

Rocket Lab said Thursday its Electron vehicle will launch the Rapid Acquisition of a Small Rocket missions from pads A and B at its Launch Complex 1 on the Mahia Peninsula in New Zealand.

RASR-4 scheduled to take place several weeks after RASR-3's launch.

According to Rocket Lab, LC-1B is under construction and will open later this year. The company began building the new launch pad in December after opening its first U.S. pad at LC-2 on Wallops Island, Va.

Peter Beck, founder and CEO of Rocket Lab, said the company is proud to continue helping NRO provide flexible and responsive space access to support a resilient space architecture.

Lars Hoffman, senior vice president of global launch services at Rocket Lab, noted that Electron has a capacity for 130 missions annually and is “ready to respond to the national security community's needs“.

The RASR contract comes after Rocket Lab launched NRO payloads for the “Birds of a Feather“ mission in January and sent smallsats from NRO, NASA and the Australian government for the “Don't Stop Me Now" mission earlier this month.

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