Media reported that Rocket Lab’s electronic rocket, Electron, has been certified as a Category 1 certification by NASA. This means that the vehicle can be used to perform more important tasks, providing a new source of revenue for this growing private sector. It is reported that this certification is based primarily on the fourth commercial launch of Rocket Lab. In 2018, the company will be able to deliver a fleet of small satellites to NASA at the ELaNa-19 mission flagship.
(Pictured: Rocket Lab)
The experimental mission is part of NASA’s Risk Class Launch Service program, which aims to test new and small launch vehicles with non-critical payloads.
Peter Beck, CEO and founder of Rocket Lab, said in a press release:
Launched from ELaNa-19, we have a strong partnership with NASA and continue to this day with the CAPSTONE mission.
Next year, Rocket Lab will be able to put NASA satellites into lunar orbit through electron rockets and photon (Photon) spacecraft.
It is reported that NASA’s risk rating, from 1 to 3 categories in turn, and mainly based on successful launch certification.
With non-essential missions such as small test satellites, NASA can easily break mission cycles, which is what the VCLS project is all about. In addition, NASA carefully inspects the facilities and manufacturing processes of the companies involved.
Darren Bedell, head of risk management for NASA’s launch services team, said the Rocket Lab team was able to ensure that processes were controllable, repeatable and measurable to ensure the mission was successful.
Rocket Lab is currently in the process of Class 2 certification, with more stringent evaluation criteria and six consecutive successes in rocket launch missions with the same configuration.
Finally, the company will perform its next launch mission for NASA, the National Reconnaissance Service and the University of New South Wales on March 27, local time in New Zealand.