Rocket Lab Electron launch
Rocket Lab's Electron rocket lifts off from its New Zealand launch site on the "It's Business Time" mission. Credit: Rocket Lab

WASHINGTON — Small satellite launch provider Rocket Lab has hired the government affairs firm DLA Piper, according to a lobbying registration form filed April 22.

DLA Piper is a multinational firm with a large presence in Washington and a growing cadre of space industry clients.

Rocket Lab, headquartered in the United States with launch operations in New Zealand and Virginia, is a privately funded company that operates the Electron small launch vehicle and recently introduced its own line of small satellites.

According to the registration form, Rocket Lab will be represented by DLA Piper’s policy advisors Nathaniel Bell and Tony Samp. The former was senior legislative assistant to former Rep. Robert Andrews. Samp was senior policy advisor to Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), who has advocated for the small launch industry.

The company is hiring a lobbying firm as it seeks to grow its U.S. government business and works to become a dominant player in the dedicated small launch market. The company has completed eleven launches for the National Reconnaissance Office, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, NASA and the Defense Department. To date Rocket Lab’s Electron vehicle has delivered 48 satellites to orbit for commercial and government customers.

Rocket Lab recently completed construction of a launch complex at Wallops Island, Virginia, and is opening a new headquarters facility in Long Beach, California.

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...