Rocket Lab to develop Neutron Upper Stage through US Space Force Contract

11th Oct 2021
Rocket Lab to develop Neutron Upper Stage through US Space Force Contract

A Rocket Lab representative announced on 4th October that the company had been granted a US Space Force Contract estimated at roughly $24.35M to improve its upper stage technology of the Neutron rocket. Rocket Lab joins the ranks of other existing launch operators such as SpaceX and United Launch Alliance. The latest Space Force Contract serves as a recognition of Rocket Lab as a potential NSSL Phase 3 Launch provider.

Rocket Lab will improve Neutron’s tech & launch capabilities

The US Space Force Contract will require Rocket Lab to examine the launch vehicle and determine whether improvements can be made on the pre-existing tech. The contract is partly funded by a $75-million-worth R&D program that the US Congress approved to develop and modernise Neutron’s defence capabilities and accuracy to support national security. Neutron will serve as a response dedicated launcher – to be used as a deterrent or as the countermeasure, rather than a first-strike missile launcher.

The American government plans to allocate further funds towards the development of other military satellites if the Neutron proves a success.

Rocket Lab’s CEO expresses confidence that the company can

Peter Beck, CEO and Rocket Lab founder, expressed his excitement over the chance to work with the US government on the Space Force Contract. He claims that the team is dedicated to designing a new generation of rockets that will accommodate critical missions and support national security, which is exactly why the US Space Force contract is such a major achievement to be proud of.

Rocket Lab getting the Space Force Contract is another successful development for the launch operator, with Neutron following in the steps of the company’s lightweight rocket Electron.

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