Rocket Lab reveals small satellite plans
Rocket Lab has unveiled its “Photon” small satellite platform at the Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, opening up on its plans to establish a foothold in the smallsat market.
The Photon platform is an end-to-end mission solution that “enables small satellite customers to focus on delivering their service from orbit and generating revenue, rather than building their own satellite hardware”.
Rocket Lab founder and chief executive Peter Beck said, “Photon was designed to be an integrated part of the Rocket Lab mission experience from the very inception of the Electron launch vehicle program.
“Small satellite operators want to focus on providing data or services from space, but building satellite hardware is a significant barrier to achieving this. The time, resources and expertise required to build hardware can draw small satellite operators away from their core purpose, delaying their path to orbit and revenue.
“As the turn-key solution for complete small satellite missions, Rocket Lab brings space within easy reach. We enable our customers to focus on their payload and mission – we look after the rest.”
Photon has an available payload mass of up to 170 kilograms and is designed for a range of low-Earth orbit missions, such as:
- Technology demonstrations;
- Risk reduction pathfinders;
- Constellations; and
- Hosted payloads.
Rocket Lab said that the Photon is developed as a configurable platform and is “ideal” for existing and emerging applications such as communications, remote sensing and internet of things.
The company said that it expects the first operational Photon to be launched from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 in Q4 2019, with customer missions “in active planning” for 2020.
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