Rocket Lab and True Anomaly will attempt to provide and operate space hardware for the military under a deliberately tight timeframe as part of the Space Force’s effort to solicit “tactically responsive” space capabilities from commercial companies.

Each company will design and build a satellite capable of close rendezvous with other spacecraft in orbit, as well as the mission’s command and control center. It will also launch satellites on Electron rockets as part of Rocket Lab’s $32 million contract. True Anomaly will work with an unnamed “trusted commercial launch provider” to launch under its $30 million contract, according to a statement.

Notably, True Anomaly said it will also “leverage $30 million of internal private capital” to accomplish the task, so it will spend a total of $60 million to support Jackal’s contract.

According to the contract, delivery of the spacecraft, called “Victus Haze,” is targeted for fall 2025. Once the spacecraft is built, the two companies will enter successive phases, including a “hot standby” phase in which they must be essentially ready to respond to DoD notifications to display satellites and launch them. Once in orbit, Rocket Lab and True Anomaly must quickly debug and prepare their respective spacecrafts to work with each other.

If all goes according to plan, Rocket Lab’s Pioneer satellite will conduct a so-called rendezvous and approach maneuver with True Anomaly’s Jackal spacecraft.

The new contract is similar to one awarded to Firefly and Millennium Space in 2022, with Millennium Space delivering satellites for Firefly to launch. that mission, victor knox, was executed last September. According to the mission, the two companies had 58 hours to integrate the payload and prepare the rocket; Firefly then had just 24 hours to launch.

While neither Rocket Lab nor True Anomaly revealed the exact timeline for the Victus Haze mission, the former company did say in a statement that the mission “will improve… processes and timelines.”

The new mission also includes additional, ambitious requirements, such as on-orbit spacecraft maneuvers designed to simulate real-life rendezvous with enemy satellites.

“We recognize the significant opportunity to leverage innovation from the commercial space industry to counter the threat China poses to the United States,” Col. Brian McClain, program executive officer for Space Systems Command, said in a statement. “The United States has the most advanced capabilities in the world. Innovative space industry. Victus Haze will demonstrate our ability to respond to irresponsible behavior in orbit under real operating conditions.”

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