Biden administration appears to be like to offer Rocket Lab $24M to spice up space-grade photo voltaic cell manufacturing

Biden administration appears to be like to offer Rocket Lab $24M to spice up space-grade photo voltaic cell manufacturing

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Rocket Lab is poised to snap up round $24 million in federal funding to dramatically enhance the manufacturing of its compound semiconductors, often known as photo voltaic cells, which give energy to satellites and spacecraft. 

The funding, which might go to Rocket Lab subsidiary SolAero Applied sciences, would assist enhance the corporate’s compound semiconductor manufacturing by 50% throughout the subsequent three years. Rocket Lab-made photo voltaic cells have been used to energy a whole bunch of satellites and spacecraft, together with important science just like the James Webb Area Telescope and business constellations like OneWeb’s satellite tv for pc web constellation. 

The U.S. Commerce Division introduced the non-binding preliminary funding settlement on Tuesday.

“Photo voltaic cells are essential for conserving our communication and house expertise powered and operational, and this proposed award would assist our navy, NASA, and our business house business have entry to the specialty semiconductors they want,” Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo mentioned in an announcement. 

Along with the federal funding, the state of New Mexico — the place SolAero is predicated — dedicated to offering financing and incentives that worth $25.5 million. The funding would assist the corporate construct out its Albuquerque-based amenities and create greater than 100 direct manufacturing jobs, Rocket Lab mentioned in an announcement. 

The brand new funding would come out of a $52.7 billion pot of cash that was created with the passage of the CHIPS and Science Act by President Joe Biden in 2022. It goals to revitalize home semiconductor manufacturing and enhance home provide chain resilience. 

Rocket Lab acquired SolAero, which operates an round 115,000-square-foot manufacturing facility, in 2022 for $80 million. The corporate is considered one of simply two in america that makes a speciality of the manufacturing of space-grade, radiation resistant compound semiconductors, or space-grade photo voltaic cells. SolAero is extremely vertically built-in: Along with the photo voltaic cells, the agency additionally manufactures photo voltaic panels and energy modules.