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Rocket Lab Gets FAA Clearance to Launch Gov’t Smallsat Missions

Rocket Lab
Rocket Lab

The Federal Aviation Administration has given Rocket Lab permission to launch small satellites for government customers from a company-operated facility at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport on Wallops Island, Virginia.

Rocket Lab said Tuesday it can use the Electron rocket to perform multiple smallsat missions from Launch Complex 2 over five years with the FAA-issued launch operator license.

The license will allow the company to help NASA deploy a 55-pound cubesat, dubbed the Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment, into space next year under a $9.95M contract awarded in February.

NASA intends for the CAPSTONE spacecraft to reach a near-rectilinear halo orbit that is being planned as the location of the Gateway lunar outpost and to demonstrate technologies as part of a risk reduction initiative.

The agency certified the Electron launch vehicle in March after the company completed 13 deployments for the Educational Launch of Nanosatellites program.

Rocket Lab aims to conduct as many as 130 missions at Virginia and New Zealand launch sites each year.

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