The American Aerospace manufacturer Rocket Labs is now one of the biggest startups in the space world. Rocket Labs has added satellites launching and manufacturing services to its array of services. The private leader in the sector wants to be FedEx of the space.
The small company doesn’t want to limit it self by carrying satellites to the orbit but wants to build and power satellites. Therefore, the company has come up with a new spacecraft platform called Photon. CEO Peter Beck says that the satellite platform was built to help the customers to save time and concentrate on their core ideas then building satellite hardware.
“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,” he says. “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.”
The satellite built will be for the low Earth Orbits and will be generally for technology demonstrations, risk reduction pathfinders, constellations, and hosted payloads. It will save customers millions of dollars on building satellites and help them to test their technologies in space. “Any customer that has built a spacecraft can stand back and now reassess whether they still need to build their own,” Beck said. “The real game changer here is the reduction in time and pain to generate revenue is enormous.”
Photon will be the evolved version of the kick stage Electron. The integration of Photon and Electron will result in a “greater maximum usable mass for payload” on each rocket. Rocket Lab’s chief payload Engineer Grant Bonin said, “By consolidating a lot of that we can take care so much of the work” satellite companies usually have to consider when trying to send their technology to space,”. “One stop shop for a space mission,” he added.
The platform will take care of the mission for up to five years and can handle a payload of 375lbs. It can store data of 1TB but the communicating speed of 512kbps isn’t that impressing. On the company’s website, they announced that The first operational Photon will be launched from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 in Q4 2019, with customer missions in active planning for 2020.
Rocket Lab company was founded in 2006. Last year, the company announced funding of $140 Million in Series E Financing led by existing investor Future Fund, an Australian sovereign wealth fund. Several other existing investors also joined the round, including Greenspring Associates, Khosla Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners, DCVC (Data Collective), Promus Ventures and K1W1. One new investor, Accident Compensation Corporation of New Zealand, joined the round.