Rocket Lab to Launch Responsive Space Missions for National Reconnaissance Office

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National Reconnaissance Office.
Credit: Rocket Lab

Rocket Lab USA has announced its next two launches will be responsive space missions for the United States Government’s National Reconnaissance Office.

Launching from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 on two Electron rockets, Rocket Lab is scheduled to deploy satellites to space for the NRO within only 10 days of each other. NROL-162 (“Wise One Looks Ahead”) will launch from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1’s Pad A no earlier than July 12, with NROL-199 (“Antipodean Adventure”) scheduled to launch from Pad B no earlier than July 22.

The NROL-162 and NROL-199 missions will carry national security payloads designed, built, and operated by the National Reconnaissance Office in partnership with the Australian Department of Defence as part of a broad range of cooperative satellite activities with Australia. The satellites will support the NRO to provide critical information to government agencies and decision-makers monitoring international issues.

These twin missions will be a demonstration of responsive launch under NRO’s Rapid Acquisition of a Small Rocket (RASR) contract for launching small satellites through a streamlined, commercial approach, and are the third and fourth missions contracted to Rocket Lab by the NRO under the contract. NROL-151 (RASR-1) was successfully deployed to space on a dedicated Electron launch in early 2020, followed by RASR-2 on another Electron launch in June 2020.

Rocket Lab CEO and founder, Peter Beck, says: “Space plays such a critical role in providing immediate insights and informing time-sensitive decisions, so a responsive, modern approach accessing orbit is crucial. This is what we’ve established with Electron and multiple launch sites – reliable rockets and multiple pads at the ready to support the national security community’s responsive space needs. Our quick turnaround for these two national security missions will be just the latest demonstration of our responsive space capability, and we’re honored to be a trusted mission partner to the NRO once again for these important RASR missions.

“Wise One Looks Ahead” launch details:

  • Launch Window Opens: July 12, UTC
  • Launch vehicle: Electron
  • Customer: National Reconnaissance Office
  • Launch site: Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1, Pad A
  • Mission type: Dedicated
  • Payload: NROL-162

“Antipodean Adventure” launch details:

  • Launch Window Opens: July 22, UTC
  • Launch vehicle: Electron
  • Customer: National Reconnaissance Office
  • Launch site: Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1, Pad B
  • Mission type: Dedicated
  • Payload: NROL-199

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