April 24, 2024

Rocket Lab Prepares to Launch Mission for KAIST and NASA to Deploy Satellites in Two Separate Orbits

This latest mission will see Rocket Lab perform multiple engine burns in space to deploy two payloads into separate orbits several hundred kilometers apart.

LONG BEACH, California April 1, 2024–(BUSINESS WIRE)–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 set the launch window for your next Electron release.

The ‘Beginning Of The Swarm’ mission is scheduled to launch from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 in Mahia, New Zealand, during a 14-day launch window that opens April 24.th. Electron will carry two satellites for two separate customers: NEONSAT-1, an Earth observation satellite for the Satellite Technology Research Center (SaTReC) of the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), and the Advanced Composite Solar NASA’s Sail System (ACS3). .

The main payload of this mission, NEONSAT-1, is an Earth observation satellite with a high-resolution optical camera designed to monitor natural disasters along the Korean Peninsula, pairing its images with artificial intelligence. NEONSAT-1 is the first satellite developed under the NEONSAT program by SaTReC and KAIST, Korea’s leading science and technology university, which developed and operated Korea’s first KITSAT-1 satellite more than 30 years ago. Additional NEONSAT satellites are scheduled to be launched in 2026 and 2027 to build the NEONSAT constellation. The program is a collaboration between several Korean academic, industrial and research institutions, including SaTReC at KAIST, which leads the program’s system design and engineering; the SaTReC Initiative, a Korean satellite manufacturer that has successfully developed seven previous remote sensing satellites for low Earth orbit; and the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI), which manages the ground segments of the mission and technological oversight of the NEONSAT program. NEONSAT is funded by the Ministry of Science and ICT (MSIT) of the Koren government.

NASA’s ACS3 is a technology demonstration of new deployable materials and structures for solar sail propulsion systems that use sunlight to propel spacecraft. Just as a sailboat is powered by the wind pushing a sail, solar sails employ the pressure of sunlight for propulsion, eliminating the need for conventional rocket propellant. The mission plans to test the deployment of new composite barriers that will unfold the solar sail to measure approximately 30 feet on each side, or about the size of a small apartment in total. Flight data obtained during the demonstration will be used to design future large-scale composite solar sail systems for space weather early warning satellites, reconnaissance missions for asteroids and other small bodies, and missions to observe the polar regions of the Earth. Sun. ACS3 was designed and built at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, and the technology demonstration is managed and funded by the Small Spacecraft Technology program at and with NASA’s Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley. NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, interested in larger solar sail missions in the future, is funding an extended operations component to perform a series of maneuvers to raise and lower the spacecraft’s orbit, demonstrating the practicality of solar navigation.

The Electron Kick Stage’s ability to perform multiple engine burns in space and deploy individual satellites into unique orbits is critical to this mission. The Kick Stage will first fire up its Curie engine to deploy NEONSAT-1 into its 520 km circular Earth orbit. After separation from the payload, it will restart its Curie engine to perform an apogee up to 1,000 km. Once in this phased orbit, Curie will ignite a third time to circle before deploying the solar sail demonstration spacecraft. The Kick Stage will then ignite Curie for the fourth and final time to perform a deorbit burn that will return the Kick Stage closer to Earth, accelerating its eventual deorbit and removal from space to support a more sustainable space environment. Rocket Lab has demonstrated similar orbit raises, inclination changes and deorbit maneuvers in previous Electron missions and, most recently, with the spacecraft’s successful reentry into Varda on February 21, 2024.

‘Beginning Of The Swarm’ will be Rocket Lab’s fifth mission in 2024 and 47thth Electron release in general.

‘Start of the Swarm’ details:

  • Release window: Opens no earlier than April 24, 2024.

  • Clients: Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) and NASA.

  • Satellites: NEONSAT-1 for SaTReC/KAIST and Advanced Composite Solar Sail System (ACS3) for NASA.

  • Target orbits: NEONSAT-1 at 520 km circular Earth orbit, ACS3 at 1,000 km circular Earth orbit.

  • Launch Stream: The launch will be streamed live at www.rocketlabusa.com/live-stream

+ About Rocket Lab

Founded in 2006, Rocket Lab is a full-fledged space company with an established track record of mission success. We provide reliable launch services, satellite manufacturing, spacecraft components and on-orbit management solutions that make accessing space faster, easier and more affordable. Headquartered in Long Beach, California, Rocket Lab designs and manufactures the small Electron 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 launched rocket annually in the U.S. and has placed 181 satellites into 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 was 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.

+ Forward-looking statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. We intend for such forward-looking statements to be covered by the safe harbor provisions for forward-looking statements contained in Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1995. 1933. , as amended (the “Securities Act”) and Section 21E of the Securities Act of 1934, as amended (the “Securities Act”). All statements contained in this press release, other than statements of historical fact, including, without limitation, statements regarding our launch operations and space systems, launch schedule and window, safe and repeatable access to space, neutron development, operational expansion and business strategy are future. appearance statements. The words “believe”, “may”, “will”, “estimate”, “potential”, “continue”, “anticipate”, “intend”, “expect”, “strategy”, “future”, “could”, “would,” “project,” “plan,” “target” and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements, although not all forward-looking statements use these words or expressions. These statements are neither promises nor guarantees, but they involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other important factors that may cause our actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. statements, including, but not limited to, the factors, risks and uncertainties included in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2023, as such factors may be updated from time to time in our other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”), accessible on the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov and in the Investor Relations section of our website at www.rocketlabusa.com, which may cause our actual results will differ materially from those indicated by the forward-looking statements made in this press release. Any forward-looking statements represent management’s estimates as of the date of this press release. Although we may choose to update such forward-looking statements at some point in the future, we disclaim any obligation to do so, even if subsequent events cause our views to change.

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+ Rocket Lab Media Contact
Murielle Baker

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