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Rocket Lab launches second mission for Synspective

Company deploys its 110th satellite using largely 3D printed Electron rocket; new Neutron rocket manufacturing moving to Virginia

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Rocket Lab USA, Inc (Nasdaq: RKLB), a leading launch and space systems company using heavily 3D printed engines and parts, has successfully deployed a second Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) satellite to orbit for data and solutions provider Synspective, bringing the total number of satellites deployed by Rocket Lab to 110. ‘The Owl’s Night Continues” mission is Rocket Lab’s 24th Electron launch. The company also revealed that manufacturing and launch capabilities for its new, larger Neutron vehicle are moving to Virginia.

Rocket Lab founder and CEO, Peter Beck, commented: “Congratulations to the team at Synspective for the successful deployment of the second satellite in their constellation. We are proud to continue our partnership with Synspective and to have provided flexibility around launch timing. We look forward to our upcoming missions with Synspective as they grow their SAR constellation.”

“The Owl’s Night Continues” mission was the first to launch from Rocket Lab’s second pad at Launch Complex 1, Pad B, on New Zealand’s Mahia Peninsula. Following lift-off at 20:37 UTC, Feb. 28, 2022, Electron successfully delivered the StriX-β satellite, growing Synspective’s SAR constellation. The planned constellation of 30 satellites is designed to deliver imagery that can detect millimeter-level changes to the Earth’s surface from space, independent of weather conditions on Earth and at any time of the day or night.

“The Owl’s Night Continues” follows on from Rocket Lab’s first launch for Synspective in December 2020, called “The Owl’s Night Begins.” Today’s mission was the first mission as part of a three-launch contract signed with Synspective in late 2021. Rocket Lab is scheduled to launch another Synspective mission in 2022 and the third in 2023.

Synspective founder and CEO, Dr Motoyuki Arai, added: “We thank both Rocket Lab and Synspective members for their diligence and teamwork to successfully put StriX-β into orbit promptly despite unforeseen circumstances and challenges due to the ongoing pandemic.  With the successful insertion of our second SAR satellite, we will be able to improve our technology for operating multiple satellites and strengthen our data services. With this achievement, we will accelerate the expansion of a thirty SAR satellite constellation and enhance our data analysis technology to realize a “learning world” for a sustainable future.”

The mission was the first to employ the new Pad B launch pad at Launch Complex 1, which is the company’s third pad globally. By operating two pads at Launch Complex 1, Rocket Lab can eliminate pad recycle time between missions to support more frequent and responsive launch capabilities.

Rocket Lab launches second mission for Synspective, deploying its 110th satellite to orbit using its largely 3D printed Electron rockets

The company also just announced that manufacturing for its newest Neutron launch vehicle is moving to Virginia, creating 250 jobs in Accomack County. The company is bringing Neutron’s first launchpad and an extensive manufacturing and operations facility for Neutron to Wallops Island.

The Neutron Production Complex and launch pad for our Neutron rocket will be located at the NASA Wallops Flight Facility and Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. The Neutron Production Complex will be home to a rocket production, assembly, and integration facility, as well as a dedicated launch pad for the Neutron rocket located on the southern end of Wallops Island.

The estimated 250,000 square foot state-of-the-art complex will be constructed on a 28-acre site adjacent to the Wallops Island Flight Facility and will include a Launch Control Center, Rocket Lab’s fifth global operations center for launch activities and on-orbit operations. To support rapid production of the Neutron rocket, current plans for the complex include automated fiber placement robotic production systems capable of laying up meters of Neutron’s new, specially formulated carbon composite structures in minutes. As a reusable rocket, Neutron is designed to land back on the Launch Complex 3 pad after a mission and from there it would be returned to the production complex for refurbishment and re-flight.

From there, Neutron will fly and re-launch from its launch pad near the complex that includes a Launch Control Center for Neutron missions nearby and an automated fiber placement robotic production system capable of laying up meters of Neutron’s new, specially formulated carbon composite structures in minutes.

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