Four Starling satellites have been added to Electron’s 2023 manifest.
LONG BEACH, Calif., May 09, 2023--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Rocket Lab USA, Inc. (Nasdaq: RKLB) ("Rocket Lab" or "the Company"), a global leader in launch services and space systems, today announced it has signed a deal to launch NASA’s Starling mission, a multi-CubeSat mission to test and demonstrate autonomous swarm technologies, as well as automated space traffic management for groups of spacecraft in low-Earth orbit.
The four Starling small satellites have been manifested on an Electron commercial rideshare mission scheduled for lift-off from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand in Q3 this year. Rocket Lab will deliver the satellites to space within three months of the contract signing.
The Starling mission is designed to test technologies to enable future "swarm" missions. Spacecraft swarms refer to multiple spacecraft autonomously coordinating their activities to achieve certain goals. Starling will explore technologies for in-space network communications, onboard relative navigation between spacecraft, autonomous maneuver planning and execution, and distributed science autonomy.
"Electron has been delivering rapid and reliable access to orbit for NASA since 2018 and we’re delighted to continue that strong heritage with the Starling mission," said Rocket Lab founder and CEO Peter Beck. "Starling has the potential to revolutionize the way science is done in orbit and we’re immensely proud to make that possible."
NASA’s Small Spacecraft Technology program within the agency’s Space Technology Mission Directorate manages the Starling project. The program is based at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley. Starling joins a growing list of NASA missions launched by Rocket Lab since 2018, including the ELaNa-19 educational CubeSat program, the CAPSTONE mission to the Moon, and two dedicated Electron launches for the NASA TROPICS mission.
+ About Rocket Lab
Founded in 2006, Rocket Lab is an end-to-end space company with an established track record of mission success. We deliver reliable launch services, satellite manufacture, spacecraft components, and on-orbit management solutions that make it faster, easier and more affordable to access space. Headquartered in Long Beach, California, Rocket Lab designs and manufactures the Electron small orbital launch vehicle, the Photon satellite platform and the Company is developing the large Neutron launch vehicle for constellation deployment. Since its first orbital launch in January 2018, Rocket Lab’s Electron launch vehicle has become the second most frequently launched U.S. rocket annually and has delivered 161 satellites to orbit for private and public sector organizations, enabling operations in national security, scientific research, space debris mitigation, Earth observation, climate monitoring, and communications. Rocket Lab’s Photon spacecraft platform has been selected to support NASA missions to the Moon and Mars, as well as the first private commercial mission to Venus. Rocket Lab has three launch pads at two launch sites, including two launch pads at a private orbital launch site located in New Zealand and a third launch pad in Virginia. To learn more, visit www.rocketlabusa.com.
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