WASHINGTON — Rocket Lab,  a launch services company and space hardware manufacturer, announced Nov. 1 that retired U.S. Space Force Lt. Gen. Nina Armagno has joined the company’s board of directors.

Armagno retired from active duty in July 2023. Her most recent assignment was director of staff in the Office of the Chief of Space Operations at the Pentagon.  She was the first female U.S. Air Force general officer to transfer to the U.S. Space Force in August 2020. 

Before transferring to the Space Force, Armagno was director of space programs in the Air Force’s acquisition branch. She was the only Air Force officer to command both major U.S. space launch facilities, the Eastern and Western Ranges.

Nina Armagno. Credit: Rocket Lab

Rocket Lab founder and CEO Peter Beck said Armagno was appointed to the company’s board for her “accomplished background in space operations and national defense.”

He said Armagno brings critical expertise to Rocket Lab “as we continue to scale our launch and space systems businesses.”

Rocket Lab, founded in 2006, is headquartered in Long Beach, California, and launches its Electron small launch vehicle from sites in New Zealand and Virginia.

The company in 2022 established a new business sector, called Rocket Lab National Security, to work with U.S. government agencies and allies. Rocket Lab is one of several companies that are working with the U.S. Air Force on the “rocket cargo” program to demonstrate the use of launch vehicles to transport cargo around the world. 

The company is developing a larger Neutron launch vehicle for commercial and national security missions

Rocket Lab is now the busiest U.S. rocket company behind SpaceX. The Electron rocket experienced a failure in September, its first since May 2021. The company last week said it received authorization from the Federal Aviation Administration to resume launches from Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand.

Sandra Erwin writes about military space programs, policy, technology and the industry that supports this sector. She has covered the military, the Pentagon, Congress and the defense industry for nearly two decades as editor of NDIA’s National Defense...