Rocket Lab has announced its first mission in 2020 — launching a rocket on behalf of its client, the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), and the launch window will open on January 31,media reported. The company will launch the Electron rocket Rocket Lab through the mission at its Launch Complex 1 (LC-1) in New Zealand.
This new rapid-access small rocket (RASR) contract model is ideal for rocket labs, as the entire company is built around the use of small, affordable rockets, which can be produced quickly because of carbon 3D printing technology used in the manufacturing process.
Rocket Lab has demonstrated the flexibility of the model through the collision-end queue at the top of another exit last year, and the ability to win the NRO Mission RASR contract model further demonstrates its purpose in response to timely desserts for small payloads to touch the rocket launch service market.
NRO is a U.S. government agency responsible for the development, construction, launch and operation of intelligence satellites, originally established in 1961, but was not officially declassified and made public until 1992. Its mission includes supporting the work of the U.S. intelligence community and the Department of Defense.
Today, more and more defense industries are interested in small satellite operations, mainly because the use of smaller, more efficient and more economical satellites means faster response to new demands in this area, and the flexibility to build resilience through a large number of observation and communications networks. Traditional satellites are not only expensive, have a very large intelligence network involved, and require years of development schedules, which provides considerable targets for potential enemies. Small satellites can almost alleviate these potential weaknesses.
Rocket Lab is understood to have opened its new ComplexLaunch 2 (LC-2) launch pad in Wallops Island, Virginia, in part to better serve customers in the U.S. defense industry. There, its first mission was to the U.S. Air Force, and the mission is scheduled to take place sometime this spring.