Rocket Lab Selected to Launch NASA’s Advanced Composite Solar Sailing System


LONG BEACH, Calif .– (COMMERCIAL THREAD) – Rocket Lab USA, Inc. (Nasdaq: RKLB) (“Rocket Lab” or “the Company”), a global leader in launch services and space systems, today announced that it has been selected to launch the system NASA’s Advanced Composite Solar Sail, or ACS3, on the Electron launcher.

NASA’s ACS3 technology demonstration uses composite materials – or a combination of materials with different properties, in its new lightweight booms that deploy from a CubeSat to support a solar sail. Much like a sailboat is propelled by the wind in a sail, solar sails use the pressure of sunlight for propulsion, thus eliminating the need for a conventional rocket thruster. The data obtained from the ACS3 demonstration will guide the design of future larger-scale composite solar sail systems that could be used for space weather early warning satellites, near-Earth asteroid reconnaissance missions or relays. communication for crewed exploration missions.

ACS3 will be launched as part of a carpooling mission, scheduled for takeoff from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 in mid-2022. The ability of the Electron Launcher’s Kick Stage to deploy individual satellites in unique orbits, even when they fly in a carpool, was a key factor in selecting Rocket Lab as the launch provider. ACS3 requires a higher altitude than other carpooling payloads launched on the same mission, so after deploying the first payloads, the Kick Stage will perform another burn with its 3D printed Curie engine to elevate orbit and deploy ACS3 . Rocket Lab’s Kick Stage has demonstrated orbit increases on 18 missions to date, and has also successfully conducted tilt changes and orbit lowering, providing customers with proven, flexible space transportation. and precise.

“We are delighted to be NASA’s launch partner for this innovative mission,” said Peter Beck, Founder and CEO of Rocket Lab. “It seems appropriate to launch NASA’s Advanced Composite Solar Sail system on Electron, the world’s first full carbon orbital launcher. We’re excited to see composites being used again to unlock new capabilities in space. ”

Partners of the ACS3 mission:

  • NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia designs the deployable composite booms and solar sail system for ACS3.

  • NanoAvionics of Columbia, Ill., Designs and builds the CubeSat 12U for demonstration of ACS3 technology.

  • NASA’s Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley, California is managing the ACS3 project and will oversee the final integration of the solar sail payload and CubeSat.

  • The University of Santa Clara robotic systems laboratory in Santa Clara, California will provide support to CubeSat operations for the demonstration of ACS3 technology.

  • NASA’s Small Spacecraft Technology Program within the agency’s Space Technology Mission Directorate is sponsoring the ACS3 project and providing launch funding.

  • NASA’s Game Changing Development program within the agency’s Space Technology Mission Directorate is developing ACS3’s deployable composite boom technology.

For more information on demonstrating ACS3 technology, visit:

About Rocket Lab

Founded in 2006, Rocket Lab is an end-to-end space company with an established track record of mission success. We provide reliable launch services, spacecraft components, satellites, and other spacecraft and in-orbit management solutions that make accessing space faster, easier and more affordable. Based in Long Beach, Calif., Rocket Lab designs and manufactures the small Electron orbital launcher and Photon satellite platform and develops the 8 ton Neutron payload class launcher. Since its first orbital launch in January 2018, Rocket Lab’s Electron launcher has become the second most frequently launched US rocket each year and has placed 105 satellites into orbit for private and public sector organizations, enabling operations in the fields of national security, scientific research, space debris mitigation. , Earth observation, climate monitoring and communications. Rocket Lab’s Photon spacecraft platform was selected to support NASA’s missions to the Moon and Mars, as well as the first private trade mission to Venus. Rocket Lab has three launch pads at two launch sites, including two launch pads at a private orbital launch site in New Zealand, one of which is currently operational, and a second launch site in Virginia, United States. -Unis, which should become operational by the end of 2021. For more information, visit

Forward-looking statements

This press release may contain certain “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934. , as amended. These forward-looking statements, including, but not limited to, expectations regarding the timing of scheduled launches, are based on Rocket Lab’s current expectations and beliefs regarding future developments and their potential effects. These forward-looking statements involve a number of risks, uncertainties (many of which are beyond Rocket Lab’s control) or other assumptions that may cause actual results or performance to differ materially from those expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. . There are many factors that could cause actual future events to differ materially from the forward-looking statements contained in this press release, including risks related to the global COVID-19 pandemic, including risks related to government restrictions and lockdowns. New Zealand and other countries in which we operate which may delay or suspend our operations; delays and interruptions in expansion efforts; our dependence on a limited number of clients; the difficult and unpredictable environment of the space in which our products operate

what could harm our launcher and our spacecraft; increased congestion due to the proliferation of constellations in low Earth orbit which could greatly increase the risk of potential collision with space debris or other spacecraft and limit or impair our launch flexibility and / or our access to our own slots orbitals; increased competition in our industry due in part to rapid technological development and falling costs; technological changes in our industry that we may not be able to keep up with or that could make our services uncompetitive; evolution of average selling prices; the inability of our satellites to perform as expected, either due to our design error during production or through no fault of our own; interruptions in the launch schedule; supply chain disruptions, product delays or failures; design and engineering flaws; launch failures; natural disasters and epidemics or pandemics; changes in government regulations, including with respect to trade and export restrictions, or in the status of our regulatory approvals or requests; or other events that require us to cancel or reschedule launches, including customer contractual rescheduling and termination rights, and other risks detailed from time to time in materials filed by Rocket Lab with the Securities and Exchange Commission under “Risk Factors” and elsewhere (including that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic may also exacerbate the risks discussed therein). There can be no assurance that future developments affecting Rocket Lab will be as we have anticipated. Except as required by law, Rocket Lab assumes no obligation to update or revise forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

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