Rocket Lab USA Inc. signed a $143 million contract on Feb. 24 — the company’s largest order to date — to manufacture 17 spacecraft buses for low Earth orbit satellites operated by Covington, La.-based Globalstar Inc. Rocket Lab will produce the spacecraft at its Long Beach headquarters.
The space systems company also announced the completion of its third dedicated orbital launch pad for its Electron rocket, as well as the date for its first dedicated commercial launch from that pad.
The orbital pad, called Pad B, was completed at Rocket Lab’s Launch Complex 1 site, the same location of its other pad in Mahia, New Zealand. Rocket Lab plans to showcase Pad B’s capabilities as soon as Feb. 28 with the launch of one of its Electron launch vehicles on behalf of Synspective Inc., a Japanese Earth-imaging company.
Launch Complex 1 is the world’s first and only private orbital launch site, enabling the company to lower fees typically associated with shared launch sites.
“A reliable launch vehicle is only one part of the puzzle to unlocking space access,” Rocket Lab founder and Chief Executive Peter Beck said in a statement. “Operating multiple launch sites so we can launch when and where our customers need to is another crucial factor. We are proud to be … making back-to-back missions possible within hours or days, not weeks or months.”