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Rocket Lab's space semiconductors bag CHIPS Act cash

Rocket Lab's space semiconductors bag CHIPS Act cash
Funding will expand manufacturing by 50% in three years, says Uncle Sam

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The Biden administration has announced a preliminary agreement to provide $23.9 million in funding to Rocket Lab's New Mexico space chip manufacturing facility. This funding will allow Rocket Lab to expand its manufacturing of compound semiconductors used in space-grade solar cells by 50% over the next three years. The expansion will also create around 100 new manufacturing jobs. In addition to the federal funding, the state of New Mexico has committed to providing $25.5 million to support Rocket Lab's planned plant expansion in Albuquerque. Rocket Lab's solar cells and chips have powered various space missions, including the James Webb Space Telescope and the Mars Insight lander. The company's acquisition of SolAero Holdings in 2022 has allowed it to become a key player in the space-grade solar cell industry. It is unclear whether Rocket Lab plans to use the CHIPS Act funding to expand its chipmaking capabilities beyond space solar projects.