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Rocket Lab Doubles Solar Production With $23.9M

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Rocket Lab secured $23.9 million in Chips and Science Act funding and $25.5 million in state incentives to double solar production at SolAreo Technologies in Albuquerque.

Rocket Lab, an aerospace component maker, is set to receive a substantial financial boost to enhance its semiconductor and solar production capabilities. Through the Chips and Science Act funding, Rocket Lab secures up to $23.9 million, slated to increase its production of compound semiconductors by 50% over the next three years. This strategic move comes in response to growing domestic demand for these critical components used in various high-tech applications.

Additionally, Rocket Lab plans to double the solar production capacity at SolAreo Technologies, its subsidiary based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. This expansion initiative will create over 100 jobs and add approximately 25,000 square feet of manufacturing space. Morgan Connaughton, VP of Marketing and Communication at Rocket Lab, underscores the significance of these investments in bolstering production capabilities and employment opportunities within the company.

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In conjunction with the federal funding, Rocket Lab will benefit from $25.5 million in state incentives provided by New Mexico. These incentives are earmarked for upgrading facilities in Albuquerque, further facilitating the expansion of SolAreo Technologies. Moreover, Rocket Lab stands to claim up to 25% of the federal Investment Tax Credit, providing additional financial support for their operations.

Rocket Lab’s acquisition of SolAero Technologies in 2022 positioned the company as one of the primary domestic manufacturers specializing in radiation-resistant compound semiconductors. 

These semiconductors play a crucial role in advanced technological applications such as missile tracking satellites, commercial satellites, and flagship scientific spacecraft like the James Webb Space Telescope and NASA’s Artemis lunar missions.

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo emphasizes the strategic importance of these investments, highlighting their role in strengthening the U.S. supply chain and manufacturing base, particularly under the CHIPS Act. This federal initiative aims to enhance national capabilities in semiconductor production, thereby supporting critical sectors, including defence, space exploration, and commercial technology.

The expansion of SolAreo Technologies is expected to meet increasing market demands and foster innovation and job creation in New Mexico. Rocket Lab’s comprehensive capabilities spanning satellite development, launch vehicles, and satellite services reinforce the company’s position as a critical player in the global space industry.

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