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Rocket Lab signs $515 million defense contract with the SDA

As the prime contractor, the company will design, build, test, and operate the 18 Tranche 2 Transport Layer-Beta satellites for the SDA’s Proliferated Warfighter Space Architecture (PWSA)

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Rocket Lab, a leading launch and space systems company using heavily 3D printed engines and parts, has been selected by and is under contract with the Space Development Agency (SDA) to design and build 18 Tranche 2 Transport Layer-Beta Data Transport Satellites (T2TL – Beta).

Rocket Lab will act as the prime contractor for the $515 million firm-fixed-price agreement – leading the design, development, production, testing, and operations of the satellites, including procurement and integration of the payload subsystems. The contract establishes Rocket Lab’s position as a leading satellite prime contractor, providing supply chain diversity to the Department of Defense (DoD) through vertical integration. The contract comprises a $489 million base plus $26 million of incentives and options and will be carried out by Rocket Lab National Security (RLNS), the company’s wholly-owned subsidiary created to serve the unique needs of the US defense and intelligence community and its allies.

The SDA is procuring satellites in two-year ‘tranches’ to build out a proliferated constellation in LEO to deliver needed space-based capabilities to the joint warfighter. The T2TL – Beta satellites, part of the Tranche 2 program, will be integrated into SDA’s Transport Layer to provide assured, resilient, low-latency military data and connectivity worldwide to meet DoD needs.

“This contract marks the beginning of Rocket Lab’s new era as a leading satellite prime. We’ve methodically executed on our strategy of developing and acquiring experienced teams, advanced technology, manufacturing facilities, and a robust spacecraft supply chain to make this possible. It’s exciting to now be delivering this capability for government and commercial customers alike,” said Peter Beck, Founder and CEO of Rocket Lab. “SDA’s acquisition approach favors speed, schedule certainty, and affordability to deliver next-generation space capabilities to the nation. We’ve proven Rocket Lab is capable of delivering this across our launch and spacecraft programs and we look forward to delivering it for SDA.”

All 18 satellites will integrate subsystems and components built in-house by Rocket Lab, including solar panels, structures, star trackers, reaction wheels, radio, flight software, avionics, and launch dispensers. This high degree of vertical integration gives Rocket Lab a rare level of control over the supply chain – enabling efficiencies and certainty on cost, schedule, and quality. The satellites will be built at Rocket Lab’s advanced spacecraft development and manufacturing complex within the company’s Long Beach headquarters. The facility includes a 12,000-square-foot cleanroom and 40,000 square feet of streamlined production and test facilities designed to support constellation-class manufacturing and satellite assembly, integration, and testing for commercial, civil, and national security customers. The satellites are scheduled for launch in 2027.

As a leading provider of advanced spacecraft and components, Rocket Lab has a backlog of more than 40 satellites in development and production. Rocket Lab satellite technology and components have been integrated into more than 1,700 satellite missions globally.

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