[Via Satellite 03-03-2015] Rocket Lab, developer of the dedicated small satellite launch vehicle Electron, has closed its Series B funding round, which the company expects will complete the Electron launch system, enabling commercial operations in 2016. Bessemer Venture Partners (BVP) along with previous investors Khosla Ventures and K1W1 supported the round, and Lockheed Martin has announced it will also make a strategic investment in the company.
“Lockheed Martin pursues technology investments that help us keep pace with innovation across the industry,” said Ned Allen, chief scientist at Lockheed Martin. “Rocket Lab’s work could have application in a number of aerospace domains, and we look forward to working with them to complement our overall efforts in small lift capabilities and hypersonic flight technologies.”
Lockheed Martin is also returning its own small satellite launch system, Athena, to market. Furthermore, BVP partner and former Skybox Imaging board member, David Cowan has joined Rocket Lab’s board through the funding round. Rocket Lab has more than 30 customers already booked, with plans to launch rockets for $5 million or less. In a previous interview, Rocket Lab CEO Peter Beck said the company plans to launch Electron at a cadence of once per week once commercial operations ensue. Electron’s first test flight is planned for this year.
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