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Rocket Lab successfully launches first of two Responsive Space Missions

Rocket Lab USA, Inc has successfully launched the first of two responsive space missions for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) from Pad A at its Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand.

Developed in partnership with the Australian Department of Defence, payload NROL-162 (“Wise One Looks Ahead”) will provide critical information to the US Government’s agencies and allies and national security decision-makers monitoring and responding to world events and humanitarian issues.

“Wise One Looks Ahead” is the first of a pair of back-to-back responsive space missions commissioned by the NRO for dedicated launch on the Electron launch vehicle. NROL-199 (“Antipodean Adventure”), the follow-up mission to NROL-162, is scheduled to launch from Pad B at Launch Complex 1 later in July.  With multiple launch pads, dedicated range and mission control centres, and several Electron rockets ready to fly, Rocket Lab is delivering responsive space capability to the national security community.

NROL-162 and NROL-199 are the latest pair of missions awarded by the NRO under the Rapid Acquisition of a Small Rocket (RASR) contract. Rocket Lab previously successfully delivered a pair of national security missions to space for the NRO on Electron in January and June 2020.

Rocket Lab founder and CEO, Peter Beck, says: “No other small launch provider has ever before prepared a dedicated launch for a small national security payload in such a rapid turnround, and our sights are set on delivering the next NRO mission to space in record-time.”

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