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Rocket Lab Subsidiary Supports DARPA Optical Link Satellite Demo

Mandrake-2 experiment

Rocket Lab Subsidiary Supports DARPA Optical Link Satellite Demo

Rocket Lab USA said that its Colorado-based aerospace engineering subsidiary, Advanced Solutions Inc., contributed to a major Department of Defense satellite experiment in June.

ASI provided space software, mission simulation and testing solutions for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and Space Development Agency’s Mandrake-2 mission, Rocket Lab said Thursday.

During the demonstration, the DOD maintained an optical communications link between two spacecraft for the test’s full 40-minute duration. The technology is intended to enable high-speed communication links between future military satellites.

Rocket Lab said that ASI, which it acquired in October 2021, had supported Mandrake-2 since the beginning of the program. 

The spacecraft were operated from the Rocket Lab Operations Center in Littleton, Colorado. Rocket Lab said it also supported the optical cross-link testing by monitoring the spacecraft’s health and status on a daily basis.

Peter Beck, founder and CEO of Rocket Lab, said that the experiment is a step toward the establishment of a global high-speed space network.

“Once again this is a solid demonstration of the efficiencies and reliability delivered by Rocket Lab’s vertically integrated capabilities,” Beck added. 

Rocket Lab recently also completed a national security space launch for the National Reconnaissance Office on Wednesday. The company’s Electron rocket lifted off from a site in New Zealand carrying the NROL-162 payload. Another such NRO mission is scheduled for July 22.

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Category: Space

Tags: Advanced Solutions Inc. DARPA demonstration Mandrake 2 optical links Peter Beck Rocket Lab satellite space Space Development Agency