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KAIST Partners with Rocket Lab for NeonSat-1 Launch
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KAIST Partners with Rocket Lab for NeonSat-1 Launch
by Clarence Oxford
Los Angeles CA (SPX) Dec 08, 2023

Rocket Lab USA, Inc. (Nasdaq: RKLB) has secured a launch services agreement that will see the deployment of the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology's (KAIST) Earth observation satellite, NeonSat-1. This exciting development is set to take place during the first half of 2024, adding to Rocket Lab's increasingly busy manifest of Electron missions.

KAIST's NeonSat-1 will serve as the primary payload on an Electron rideshare mission. This mission will not only deploy NeonSat-1 but also carry NASA's Advanced Composite Solar Sail System (ACS3) satellite into space. The launch is scheduled to occur from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand.

Rocket Lab founder and CEO, Peter Beck, expressed his enthusiasm for the upcoming launch, stating, "2024 is shaping up to be our busiest launch year yet with a fully booked manifest of Electron missions." He further emphasized the importance of this mission by explaining that it offers KAIST an opportunity for a timely and affordable launch to reach orbit quickly. The collaboration between Rocket Lab and KAIST underscores the commitment to providing cutting-edge launch services.

Jae-Hung Han, Director General of the Satellite Technology Research Center (SaTReC) at KAIST, conveyed the institute's anticipation, saying, "We highly anticipate collaborating with Rocket Lab for a successful launch of our first satellite of the NEONSAT microsatellite constellation program." NeonSat-1, as part of this program, will be a high-resolution optical satellite, serving as a technology demonstrator for a future Earth observation constellation.

KAIST, a prominent institution in the field of science and technology in Korea, has a history of involvement in satellite development that spans over three decades. They notably launched Korea's first satellite, KAIST, more than 30 years ago.

One noteworthy aspect of this mission is the utilization of Rocket Lab's MLB satellite separation system. This showcases Rocket Lab's vertically integrated space systems strategy, further solidifying their position as a key player in the commercial space launch industry.

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