Rocket Lab signs agreement with USTRANSCOM to explore the use of neutron and electron rockets to deliver goods around the world | New
LONG BEACH, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Sept. 6, 2022–
Rocket Lab USA, Inc. (Nasdaq: RKLB) (“Rocket Lab” or “the Company”), a global leader in launch services and space systems, today announced the signing of a research and development agreement cooperative (CRADA) with the United States Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM) to explore the possibility of using the company’s Neutron and Electron launchers to transport cargo around the world. The deal will also see Rocket Lab explore the use of the Photon spacecraft to establish in-orbit cargo depots and provide re-entry capability.
The CRADA enables collaborative investigation between USTRANSCOM and Rocket Lab to explore the capabilities of neutrons, electrons and photons, informing the Rocket Cargo program led by the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) and the US SpaceForce. Rocket Cargo is one of Vanguard’s Air Force programs designed to advance emerging systems and concepts through prototyping and experimentation to deliver remarkable new capabilities. The program aims to explore the viability of space launch to improve cost and speed of delivery compared to existing air cargo operations.
“Point-to-point space transportation provides a new capability to rapidly move equipment around the world in hours, enabling faster response to global emergencies and natural disasters,” said Peter Beck, Founder and CEO of Rocket Lab. “Electron is already a proven and reliable launch vehicle and we have demonstrated its adaptability with programs such as Reusability and our recent CAPSTONE mission to the Moon for NASA, so we are no strangers to exploring expanded use cases. for Electron. Neutron builds on the capability of Electron with a much larger payload capacity, and it is designed for frequent flights, making it a perfect choice to enable rapid deployment of vital resources while eliminating en-route stops and in-flight refueling required by air cargo solutions. To top it off, Photon’s in-orbit cargo depots offer a comprehensive approach to the future of rapid global deployment. We are excited to partner with the USTRANSCOM on this innovative, cutting-edge research program that could ultimately change the way the Department of Defense views logistics response options.
“Rocket Lab USA will help the federal government understand commercial rocket capabilities for future logistics missions,” added Mr. Jamie Malak, CRADA Government Project Manager at AFRL. “USTRANSCOM and its global Combatant Command customers have been constrained to logistics at the speed of conventional aircraft – or often much slower – for their entire history. We can now look forward to transporting critical military cargo an order of magnitude faster than ever before. We will explore how to integrate rocket loading systems into Defense logistics processes and how to make space transportation a reliable and practical option for future operations.
USTRANSCOM oversees global military logistics operations and uses CRADAs to evaluate commercial technologies for possible fielding. The agreements combine industry, academia and their specific technologies with DOD future thinkers to anticipate uses, feasibility, value and costs.
Neutron is Rocket Lab’s medium-range reusable launcher under development. Designed to provide reliable, cost-effective launch for payloads in Low Earth Orbit and beyond. With a large seven-meter fairing and a payload lift capacity of 13 tons in a downrange landing configuration, Neutron is ideal for both constellation deployment and large single spacecraft missions. Development and manufacturing of the Neutron rocket is based at Rocket Lab’s production complex in Wallops, Virginia, in the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport. Neutron’s first launch pad will also be located at the Spaceport near the company’s existing launch pad for the Electron rocket.
Electron is Rocket Lab’s small launch vehicle, capable of launching payloads of up to 320 kg / 705 lbs to low Earth orbit and interplanetary destinations. Since Electron’s first liftoff in 2017, Rocket Lab has launched 29 Electron missions deploying 149 spacecraft into orbit for civilian, defense, intelligence and commercial customers. Rocket Lab operates three launch pads for Electron. The first two are located at Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand, the world’s first private orbital launch site. A third Electron launch pad is located at Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport in Virginia.
Photon is the small spacecraft designed and built in-house by Rocket Lab. Photon is based on the former Electron Kick Stage launcher, leveraging many components that have significant flight heritage, including the Curie engine, an in-space propulsion system designed and developed in-house. A highly configurable platform, Photon Configurable can be adapted for a range of missions in LEO, MEO, GEO and beyond, including lunar and planetary. A lunar version of Photon was used by Rocket Lab to carry out the CAPSTONE Moon mission for NASA in 2022, sending a CubeSat to a ballistic lunar transfer on the first mission of the Artemis program.
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Rocket Lab (Nasdaq: RKLB) is a global space leader, providing proven and reliable space services spanning launch, spacecraft manufacturing, satellite subsystems, flight software and in-orbit operations .
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KEYWORD: CALIFORNIA UNITED STATES NORTH AMERICA
INDUSTRY KEYWORD: RESEARCH TRANSPORTATION MILITARY PUBLIC POLICY/GOVERNMENT AVIATION MANUFACTURING WHITE HOUSE/FEDERAL GOVERNMENT LOGISTICS/SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT SCIENCE DEFENSE
SOURCE: Rocket Lab USA, Inc.
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PUBLISHED: 06/09/2022 16:41 / DISK: 06/09/2022 16:41