“Orbit Domination: TechCrunch Space Teams Up with True Anomaly and Rocket Lab for Revolutionary Advances”

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Hello and welcome back to TechCrunch Space. You also can send a note to the whole TechCrunch crew at For more secure communications, click here to contact us, which includes SecureDrop instructions and links to encrypted messaging apps. The Space Force has contracted out its next “responsive space” mission, and this one is a doozy. The two awardees, Rocket Lab and startup True Anomaly, will each build and launch spacecraft that will conduct rendezvous and proximity operations on orbit.

New “responsive space” mission launched by Space Force in partnership with Rocket Lab and True Anomaly.

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Rocket Lab and True Anomaly will attempt to deliver and operate space hardware for the military under intentionally tight timeframes, as part of the Space Force’s push to solicit “tactically responsive” space capabilities from commercial companies. As part of Rocket Lab’s $32 million contract, it will also launch the satellite with its Electron rocket. True Anomaly will partner with an unnamed “trusted commercial launch provider” for its ride under its own $30 million contract, according to a statement. Once in orbit, Rocket Lab and True Anomaly must rapidly commission and ready their spacecraft for operations — with each other. If all goes to plan, Rocket Lab’s Pioneer satellite will conduct the so-called rendezvous and proximity operations with True Anomaly’s Jackal spacecraft.

“Discovering the Bright Side: True Anomaly’s CEO Overcomes Challenges on Company’s Debut Mission”

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True Anomaly‘s first mission didn’t go as planned by any stretch of the imagination, but the space and defense startup’s CEO, Even Rogers, said he doesn’t consider it a failure. The aim of this first mission, Mission X, was to demonstrate these capabilities on orbit for the first time. True Anomaly closed a $100 million Series B round last year to accelerate those plans. By all accounts, the outcome of Mission X has not slowed the company down whatsoever: True Anomaly is planning on flying at least twice more in the next twelve months. “The success story of Jackal Mission X is twofold,” Rogers said.

“Explosive Astra Rocket Mishap: Rare 2020 Footage of Failed Prelaunch Testing”

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Footage obtained by TechCrunch shows the catastrophic ending that Astra’s Rocket 3.0 suffered during prelaunch testing in March 2020. “I can confirm we had an anomaly on the launch pad,” Alaska Aerospace CEO Mark Lester told local reporters at the time. At the time, Astra was taking such failures in stride. The deal is expected to close sometime this quarter, at which time Astra will cease trading on the Nasdaq. Astra did not return a request for comment on the 2020 launch failure.

True Anomaly Secures $100M in Funding to Expand Space Security Technology

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True Anomaly has closed $100 million in new funding, a strong signal that the appetite for startups operating at the intersection of space and defense is far from abating. The new round was led by Riot Ventures, with participation from Eclipse, ACME Capital, Menlo Ventures, Narya, 645 Ventures,, Champion Hill Ventures and FiveNine Ventures. True Anomaly is looking to fill a critical gap in space situational awareness and defensive operations through software and hardware, including the line of autonomous spacecraft capable of rendezvous and proximity operations. In previous interviews with TechCrunch, True Anomaly CEO Even Rogers called out what he sees as a critical “information asymmetry” between the U.S. and its adversaries in space. Jackal, Mosaic and the company’s other work in space domain awareness are meant to close that gap.