Rocket Lab Inc., a U.S. manufacturer of spacecraft, brought on one of the original leaders of the U.S. Space Force to its board of governors.

Retired Lt. Gen. Nina Armagno served more than 35 years in the military, including as the Air Force’s director for space programs and principal leader of Space Force headquarters staff and day-to-day operations for the budding service. In 2020, shortly after the new branch was created, she became the first female officer to promote to three-star general and transfer into the service.

“The United States now, more than at any point in its history, depends on space systems for its national security — and much more so than any other country,” she wrote in June in the Journal of Indo-Pacific Affairs. “Space has now taken center stage, and it is truly an exciting time.”

Armagno, who retired from active duty military service in July, previously commanded the 30th and 45th Space Wings, the 21st Operations Group, and the 6th Space Warning Squadron. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the the U.S. Air Force Academy and two master’s degrees, one from Chapman University and another from the National War College.

Rocket Lab, based in Long Beach, California, operates three launch pads around the country, including one in Virginia, to deliver more than 150 satellites to orbit for the private and public sector, including NASA, the Space Force, DARPA and the National Reconnaissance Office.

The company is planning for a 2024 launch in partnership with NASA to help inform scientists and the government on the characteristics of Mars’ magnetic field. It’s is also seeing heightened demand of its Hypersonic Accelerator Suborbital Test Electron vehicle, or HASTE program, C4ISRNET previously reported.

“Since its first orbital launch in January 2018, Rocket Lab’s Electron launch vehicle has become the second most frequently launched U.S. rocket annually,” the company said in a Nov. 2 statement.

Molly Weisner is a staff reporter for Federal Times where she covers labor, policy and contracting pertaining to the government workforce. She made previous stops at USA Today and McClatchy as a digital producer, and worked at The New York Times as a copy editor. Molly majored in journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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