Rocket Lab spacecraft confirmed for Mars as NASA gives green light for small-satellite interplanetary ESCAPADE mission

The ESCAPADE mission – led by the University of California, Berkeley’s Space Science Laboratory to study the magnetosphere of Mars – with two Rocket Lab Photon spacecraft has received approval from NASA to head towards launch.

LONG BEACH, California, August 23, 2021– (BUSINESS WIRE) – Rocket Lab, a global leader in dedicated launch and space systems, today announced that it will begin the design and manufacture of the final mission to deliver two Photon interplanetary spacecraft for one mission scientist to Mars, providing Decennial class science at a fraction of the cost of typical planetary missions.

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A rendering of Rocket Lab’s Photon spacecraft orbiting Mars for the ESCAPADE mission. (Photo: Business Wire)

The Escape and Plasma Acceleration and Dynamics Explorers (ESCAPADE) mission will orbit Mars around two photon spacecraft built by Rocket Lab to understand the structure, composition, variability and dynamics of Mars’ unique hybrid magnetosphere. The mission will also support crewed exploration programs like Artemis through better forecasting of solar storms.

ESCAPADE is the last of three missions taking place under the current cycle of NASA’s Small Innovative Missions for Planetary Exploration (SIMPLEX) program to conduct compelling planetary space science with small satellites and provide more experience opportunities of flight to the scientific community. The ESCAPADE mission, led by Principal Investigator Robert Lillis of the University of California, Berkeley, is the latest SIMPLEX mission to pass Key Decision Point-C (KDP-C), confirming its implementation for launch on Mars in 2024. The ESCAPADE mission is managed by the heliophysics division of the NASA science mission directorate and will be the first heliophysical mission to visit another planet.

Following deployment from a commercial launcher provided by NASA, the pair of photons will cruise 11 months interplanetary before inserting into elliptical orbits around Mars to begin the science phase. The two photons integrate satellite subsystems developed and manufactured by Rocket Lab, including star trackers, reaction wheels, telemetry transceivers for deep space navigation, and propulsion systems in the space. By leveraging the manufacturing of vertically integrated spacecraft, the ESCAPADE mission will be delivered at a fraction of the cost of traditional planetary missions. This supports the United States National Strategy for Decade Class Science by increasing the pace of scientific discovery and more sustainable crewed exploration by improving our understanding of the space environment.

Rocket Lab Founder and CEO Peter Beck said, “GETAWAY is an innovative mission that demonstrates that advanced interplanetary science is now within reach at a fraction of traditional costs, and we are proud to make this possible with Photon. “, did he declare. “Passing the key decision point is a critical step in the development of ESCAPADE and is a testament to the world-class scientific and technical work of the UC Berkeley and Rocket Lab teams. We are delighted to receive the green light from NASA to proceed with the flight. “

GETAWAY is one of several beyond Earth orbit missions currently under development by Rocket Lab using the Photon spacecraft, including the CAPSTONE mission to the Moon in support of the Artemis program of the NASA and Rocket Lab’s private science mission to Venus.

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About Rocket Lab:

Rocket Lab is a world leader in space, building rockets and spacecraft that make it easy to get into orbit and do amazing things there. Founded in 2006, Rocket Lab provides end-to-end mission services that provide frequent and reliable access to space for civilian, defense and commercial markets. Based in Long Beach, California, Rocket Lab designs and manufactures electron and neutron launchers and the Photon satellite platform. Rocket Lab’s Electron launcher is the second most frequently launched US rocket each year and has orbiting more than 100 satellites for private and public sector organizations, enabling operations in the areas of national security, scientific research , space debris mitigation, Earth observation, climate monitoring and communications. Rocket Lab and Vector Acquisition Corporation (Nasdaq: VACQ), a publicly traded special purpose acquisition company, announced a proposed business combination in the first quarter of 2021 ( Vector’s shareholders voted to approve its proposed merger with Rocket Lab USA, Inc. at its annual general meeting of shareholders held on August 20, 2021. The merger is expected to be finalized on August 25, 2021, and the common shares and warrants The combined company’s subscription plan The company, which will be renamed “Rocket Lab USA, Inc.”, is expected to begin trading on the Nasdaq Capital Market on August 25, 2021, under the new ticker symbols, “RKLB” and “RKLBW”, respectively.

Forward-looking statements

This press release may contain certain “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934. , as amended, including statements regarding the expectations, hopes, beliefs, intentions or strategies of Vector, Rocket Lab or their respective management teams regarding the future. The words “anticipate”, “believe”, “continue”, “could”, “estimate”, “expect”, “intend”, “could”, “could”, “plan”, “possible “,” potential “,” plan “,” project “,” should “,” would “and similar expressions may identify forward-looking statements, but the absence of these words does not mean that a statement is not forward-looking . These forward-looking statements are based on Rocket Lab’s current expectations and beliefs regarding future developments and their potential effects. There are many factors that could cause actual future events to differ materially from the forward-looking statements contained in this press release, including, but not limited to: (i) the risk that the proposed transaction with Vector will not be completed in timely or not at all, (ii) failure to comply with the terms of the completion of the proposed transaction with Vector, including the adoption of the merger agreement governing the proposed transaction by Vector shareholders, and (iii) the occurrence of any event, change or other circumstance which could give rise to the termination of the merger agreement. There can be no assurance that future developments affecting Rocket Lab will be as we have anticipated. These forward-looking statements involve a number of risks, uncertainties (some of which are beyond Rocket Lab’s control) or other assumptions that may cause actual results or performance to differ materially from those expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. . Except as required by law, Rocket Lab assumes no obligation to update or revise forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

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Rocket Lab media contact:
Murielle Boulanger | +6427 538 9040

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