Rocket Lab to Launch Finnish Satellite Developing Next-Generation Space Junk Removal Technologies

Electron launches with OHB satellite. (Credit: Rocket Lab webcast)

LONG BEACH, Calif., August 16, 2021 (Rocket Lab PR) – Rocket Lab, a leading launch provider and space systems company, has today announced it will launch a satellite to test space junk removal technologies for Aurora Propulsion Technologies, a Finnish company dedicated to the sustainable use of space.

Lifting-off from Launch Complex 1 on New Zealand’s Mahia Peninsula as part of a rideshare mission scheduled in Q4, 2021, Electron will deploy AuroraSat-1 to low Earth orbit in a demonstration of the company’s proprietary propulsion devices and plasma brakes that provide efficient propulsion and deorbiting capabilities for small satellites. The CubeSat will validate the water-based propellant and mobility control of its Resistojets that can assist CubeSats with detumbling capabilities and propulsion-based attitude control. AuroraSat-1 will also test its deployable Plasma Brakes which combine a micro-tether with charged particles in space, or ionospheric plasma, to generate significant amounts of drag to deorbit the spacecraft safely at the end of its life.

AuroraSat-1 (Credit: Aurora Propulsion Technologies)

The recently-signed launch agreement provides Aurora with an accelerated on-ramp to space at a critical phase in the company’s growth and technology development. Originally manifested to launch on a different rocket and orbital transfer vehicle, this rapid and streamlined space access, combined with the ability of Electron’s Kick Stage to precisely deliver payloads to their unique orbits, were decisive factors in Aurora selecting Rocket Lab as the launch provider for their mission.

“Speed to space is crucial in the development of next generation technologies like Aurora’s, made possible by the dedicated team behind Electron that delivers rapid and responsive launch for satellite operators who want to move quickly,” said Rocket Lab founder and CEO, Peter Beck. “We’re delighted to be working with Aurora to enable new and innovative systems with the safe and sustainable use of space in mind.”

Aurora CEO, Roope Takala said: “After earlier launch plans fell through, we greatly value Rocket Lab’s ability to offer a launch in a flight window starting just three months from our originally planned launch date. The quick response Rocket Lab offered allows us to space prove our technologies this year and keep on track with our development plans.”

The AuroraSat-1 launch agreement follows a collection of other announced satellites flying onboard Electron including the first ever wooden satellite, WISA Woodsat, developed by Finnish company Arctic Astronautics. The mission is expected to follow on from three back-to-back Electron launches in August and September for BlackSky Global, and the CAPSTONE mission to the Moon in support of NASA’s Artemis program.

About Rocket Lab

Rocket Lab is a global leader in space, building rockets and spacecraft that make it easier to get to orbit and to do amazing things there. Founded in 2006, Rocket Lab provides end-to-end mission services that provide frequent and reliable access to space for civil, defense, and commercial markets. Headquartered in Long Beach, California, Rocket Lab designs and manufactures the Electron and Neutron launch vehicles and Photon satellite platform. Rocket Lab’s Electron launch vehicle is the second most frequently launched U.S. rocket annually and has delivered more than 100 satellites to orbit for private and public sector organizations, enabling operations in 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 (https://bwnews.pr/3yBYYzd). The transaction is expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2021. Upon closing, the combined company is expected to remain listed on the Nasdaq with its common stock and warrants trading under the new ticker symbols, “RKLB” and “RKLBW”, respectively.

About Aurora Propulsion Technologies

Aurora Propulsion Technologies’ mission is to ensure sustainable use of space, whilst prolonging the useful lifespan of satellites. Our technologies enable effective and prompt implementation of satellite position and orientation to ensure successful execution and growth for the owners’ business as well as the safe and reliable deorbiting of satellites at the end of their useful life. The long-term mission goal is deep space exploration with microsatellite-sized probes using a revolutionary means of propulsion, an electric sail. Visit Aurora Propulsion Technologies at www.aurorapt.fi.