Rocket Lab announced a dedicated rocket launch on behalf of their client U.S. National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) which opens on January 31. An electron rocket will be used for the mission andit will be taking off from its Launch Complex 1 (LC-1) in NewZealand.
This will be Rocket Lab’s first mission under the new contract with the NRO. The new contract is supposed to allow NRO to source launch providers quickly and at short notice. This new Rapid Acquisition of a Small Rocket (RASR) contract model is ideal for Rocket Lab, given the company’s vision is to use small and affordable rockets. These can be produced quickly thanks to carbon 3D printing used in the manufacturing process.
The defense industry’s interest in small satellite operations has increasedsignificantly in recent times. Traditional military satellites carry huge price tags, have multi-year development timelines and offer a sizeable targets to potential enemies. Small satellites on the other hand act as a part of larger constellations and mitigate pretty much all of these potential weaknesses.Using smaller,efficient and economical satellites will allow the users to respond to new needs in the field more quickly. It also helps the user build resiliency into their observation and communication network through sheer volume.