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Rocket Lab to Supply Solar Power for Next Gen OPIR Satellites 

By Rachel Jewett | July 29, 2022

Lockheed Martin’s Next Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (NGG) Block 0 early missile warning satellite. Photo: Lockheed Martin

Rocket Lab will supply solar cells for three missile warning satellites Lockheed Martin is building for the U.S. Space Force. Rocket Lab announced July 27 it will supply Coverglass Interconnected solar Cell (CIC) assemblies to power the Next Gen OPIR GEO (NGG) satellites.

The technology was developed by SolAero, which Rocket Lab acquired in January. SolAero previously supported the Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) program, which Next-Gen OPIR succeeds. 

The NGG program will deliver resilient global missile warning capabilities to counter emerging missile and counter-space threats. Lockheed Martin’s spacecraft recently passed critical design review, and the first of the three satellites is set to launch in 2025. Rocket Lab’s CICs will be integrated into the satellites’ solar panel and arrays. 

“We are excited to continue our long-term partnership with Lockheed Martin by powering the Next Gen OPIR GEO satellites,” said Brad Clevenger, Rocket Lab’s vice president and general manager of Space Systems Power Solutions. “These satellites are critical to the mission needs of the United States Space Force and our national security, and we are proud to be supporting their production on an aggressive schedule.”