A few years ago, Rocket Lab CEO Peter Beck told investors that, unlike Elon Musk’s SpaceX, it was not in the company’s plans to build large or reusable rockets – and he promised to eat his hat if he did. Today, after announcing a partnership with Vector Acquisition Corp to go public and raise more than $ 4 billion, Beck tasted a cap:
The company will sell its shares in Nasdaq to renew and increase its current fleet of Electron rockets (payload of 225 kg) and build a new class of reusable rockets, with the capacity to transport not only eight tons of cargo but also to carry astronauts on board : the Neutron.
Since last year, Beck had already announced that the indigestible snack was imminent, announcing that he would attempt an Electron recovery plan in an operation involving the addition of a rocket parachute and a rescue helicopter.
Like the Falcon, Neutron must land on an ocean platform. And just like Elon Musk’s startup, the company hopes to enter the race for contracts to put satellites in orbit and take cargo to the International Space Station (ISS) and the Moon, Mars and Venus.
“Neutron’s eight tons of payload makes it the ideal size rocket for deploying lots of satellites on specific orbital planes, creating a more targeted and simplified approach to building mega constellations,” explained Beck in a statement.
The company wants a slice of an extremely competitive market today: the launch of broadband internet satellites. If SpaceX and Amazon (through Blue Origin) have their own rocket fleet, others like Britain’s OneWeb (which plans to launch up to 2,000 satellites) need a ride into space.