Rocket Lab creates defense-focused subsidiary for national security clients • TechCrunch

Launch provider Rocket Lab is setting up a subsidiary to handle its sensitive US government activities, such as spysat launches and experimental military spacecraft. Rocket Lab National Security LLC will handle most of the Department of Defense matters to save the rest of the company some grief.

Rocket Lab’s main arm, or perhaps it would be more appropriate to call it the body, has already done a lot of work with the US government, launching tests from DARPA and the National Reconnaissance Office. It’s kind of inevitable if you’re a launch provider — governments in general are big customers, and the US in particular.

But wow, you want to talk about picky? Try getting a contract to launch a top secret satellite that costs 200 million dollars! There are all kinds of hoops to jump through. But then they want to launch right away, price is no object – as if you barely have rockets around!

Of course, in Rocket Lab’s case, that may well be the case, but the company clearly decided it would be smart to cut down on “red tape” and other red tape, clearinghouses, etc. to a specialized subsidiary that can work more closely with its national security. customers and partners. It is likely that a significant firewall already existed within the company, as commercial activity is in many ways fundamentally different from government contracting. Now it’s really its own business unit (or maybe that’s not the right term of art, but you know what I mean).

“Top of the list for national security is reliability and responsiveness, which we have already delivered on many missions. With Rocket Lab National Security, we are building on this strong legacy to deliver customized capabilities that evolve as the nation’s needs,” said Brian Rogers, head of the company’s government launch services division, in a press release.

Less high-profile missions for civilian agencies like NASA and NOAA would likely use “vanilla” Rocket Lab services, and indeed defense projects that don’t come with too many strings attached can probably save a buck or two if they go that route as well. . . But compared to launch costs ten years ago, it’s all a rounding error.

The launch company’s work on spacecraft design and more complex missions like CAPSTONE also remains part of the main company. Until the military starts firing space lasers into lunar space, anyway.

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