Rocket Lab carves off defense-focused subsidiary for national security customers

Rocket Lab carves off defense-focused subsidiary for national security customers

Launch provider Rocket Lab has established a subsidiary to manage sensitive U.S. government business like the launch of spysats or experimental military spacecraft. Rocket Lab National Security LLC will manage most of the Defense Department stuff in the future to save the company some grief.

The main arm of Rocket Lab, or perhaps it would be more appropriate to call it the body, has done plenty of business with the U.S. government already, putting tests from DARPA and the National Reconnaissance Office into orbit. It’s almost inevitable if your launch provider is a government customer, especially the U.S.

But wow, are you ready to talk about picky? Try getting a contract to launch a top-secret satellite that costs $200 million! There are many hoops to jump through. However, if they want to launch immediately, price is not an issue — as if there are rockets lying around!

Although Rocket Lab may have believed that, it was not true in their case, the company decided to limit the “bureaucratic requirements”, clearances, red tape, and other requirements to create a specialized subsidiary that can better work with national security clients and partners. There was probably already a significant firewall in place, as commercial activity is fundamentally different to government contracts. It’s now its own business unit, or maybe that isn’t the correct term of art. But you know what I mean.

“Reliability and responsiveness are top priorities for national security. We’ve demonstrated this in multiple missions. Rocket Lab National Security is building on our strong heritage to deliver tailored capabilities, which evolve as the nation needs,” Brian Rogers, head of the company’s government launch service department, said in a press release .

High-touch missions for civilian agencies such as NASA and NOAA would likely use “vanilla Rocket Lab’s services. Defense projects that don’t have too many strings attached can also save money by using this method. It’s a small error compared to launch costs ten year ago.

The launch company’s work designing spacecraft and its work on more complex missions like CAPSTONE remain part of the main company as well. However, the main company will continue to operate until the military launches space lasers into cislunar orbit.

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