Rocket Lab, Leidos sign contract for 4 rocket launches
Liftoffs will be from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility
California-based Rocket Lab USA has signed a contract with Reston-based Fortune 500 contractor Leidos to launch four Hypersonic Accelerator Suborbital Test Electron (HASTE) missions, the launch company announced Tuesday.
The suborbital testbed launch vehicle missions will lift off from Rocket Lab’s Launch Complex 2 at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport, located at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Accomack County. They are scheduled during 2024 and 2025.
Leidos selected Rocket Lab for hypersonic test launches under the Multi-Service Advanced Capability Hypersonics Test Bed (MACH-TB) contract, which the Naval Surface Warfare Center awarded to a Leidos subsidiary in October 2022. Rocket Lab launched its first HASTE rocket, derived from its Electron rocket, on June 17 for Leidos.
“Our first HASTE mission … successfully demonstrated HASTE’s ability to accelerate the cadence of hypersonic flight testing for the nation,” Brian Rogers, Rocket Lab’s senior director of global launch services, said in a statement. “We’re proud to now follow it up with a series of four additional missions for Leidos to support hypersonic technology innovation and technology maturation.”
Rocket Lab National Security, the company’s wholly owned subsidiary focused on the defense and intelligence communities, operates the HASTE program.
Founded in 2006, Rocket Lab designs and manufactures the Electron rocket and the Photon satellite platform and is developing the Neutron 13-ton payload class launch vehicle. Since its first orbital launch in January 2018, the company has delivered 171 satellites to orbit for private and public organizations. Rocket Lab has two launch pads in New Zealand in addition to its pad in Virginia.