Rocket Lab has announced that leading European space technology company OHB Group has signed a contract for a dedicated launch on an Electron rocket. The launch was procured through OHB Cosmos International Launch Service GmbH, the launch service division of the OHB Group.
The mission will launch a communications satellite for an OHB customer and is scheduled for lift-off in early 2021 from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 on New Zealand’s Māhia Peninsula. It is the first launch contract between Rocket Lab and OHB, one of Europe’s leading space systems integrators which traditionally offers rideshare opportunities on large launch vehicles.
The mission will represent a rapid turnaround time of just six months between contract signing and launch. This streamlined path to launch, combined with Rocket Lab’s ability to deliver payloads to precise and unique orbits, were key factors in OHB selecting Rocket Lab as the launch provider.
Peter Beck, Rocket Lab’s founder and CEO, said the contract highlights the growing need that small satellite operators have for responsive, dedicated launch.
“As a respected leader in space, OHB Group has been providing access to orbit through rideshare opportunities and dedicated launches on medium and large size rockets for many years. We’re excited to be enabling a new capability for OHB and its mission partners by delivering rapid turnaround, dedicated small satellite launch on Electron,” said Beck. “Missions like this one put small satellite operators in the driver’s seat, giving them control over their launch schedule and orbit, on their terms.”
“OHB delivers an unmatched delivery time to its customer with this project. This would not have been possible without the impressive reactivity of Rocket Lab”, said Lutz Bertling, Chief Strategy & Development Officer OHB Group. “For this mission, OHB COSMOS International Launch Service is not only providing the launch service procurement like for several previous OHB missions in the last 25 years. In the New Space Era we are leading this specific spacecraft, payload and mission development supported by OHB divisions in Sweden, Germany and Czech Republic ”, said Indulis Kalnins, OHB Cosmos Managing Director.
The OHB mission will be one of the first missions in a busy year of launch activity for Rocket Lab, with the company booked for launches every two weeks in 2021 across its two launch sites, Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand and Launch Complex 2 in Virginia.