Space News
space history and artifacts articles

Messages
space history discussion forums

Sightings
worldwide astronaut appearances

Resources
selected space history documents

  collectSPACE: Messages
  Commercial Space - Military Space
  Rocket Lab Photon small satellite platform

Post New Topic  Post A Reply
profile | register | preferences | faq | search

next newest topic | next oldest topic
Author Topic:   Rocket Lab Photon small satellite platform
Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 44577
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 04-08-2019 06:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Rocket Lab release
Rocket Lab Unveils Spacecraft Program

Rocket Lab becomes an integrated spacecraft builder and launch provider, enabling small satellite operators to focus on delivering data and services from space

U.S. small satellite launch company Rocket Lab has announced the next evolution of its mission services; the in-house designed and built Photon satellite platform.

As the global leader in small satellite launch, Rocket Lab now delivers an integrated spacecraft build and launch service. The end-to-end mission solution 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 Officer Peter Beck says 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," 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."

With an available payload mass of up to 170 kg*, Photon is designed for a range of Low Earth Orbit missions, including technology demonstrations, risk reduction pathfinders, constellations and hosted payloads. Developed as a configurable platform, Photon is ideal for existing and emerging applications such as communications, remote sensing, and Internet of Things (IoT).

Photon is a highly-advanced evolution of the Electron launch vehicle's Kick Stage, which has been successfully deployed on four orbital Electron missions. Operating a high-powered iteration of the flight-proven 3D printed Curie® propulsion system, Photon can support missions with an orbital life span of up to five years. Photon also includes an S-band communication system, a high-performance attitude control system, and a robust avionics suite.

To meet the growing demand for tailored small spacecraft with dependable fast delivery, Rocket Lab has drawn on its proven heritage of rapidly scaling production with Electron launch vehicle program. Manufactured at Rocket Lab's Huntington Beach, California headquarters, a Photon spacecraft can be launched on Electron in as little as four months from order to orbit.

The first operational Photon will be launched from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 in Q4 2019, with customer missions in active planning for 2020.

*Orbit and configuration dependent.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 44577
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 10-21-2019 08:59 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Rocket Lab release
Rocket Lab to deliver payloads to the Moon and beyond with Photon

Rocket Lab, the global leader in dedicated small satellite launch, has today unveiled plans to support extended range missions to medium, geostationary, and lunar orbits with the company's Photon satellite platform.

Less than two years after opening access to low Earth orbit (LEO) for small satellites with the Electron launch vehicle, Rocket Lab is now bringing medium, geostationary, and lunar orbits within reach for small satellites. Rocket Lab will combine its Electron launch vehicle, Photon small spacecraft platform, and a dedicated bulk maneuver stage to accomplish extended-range missions and deliver small spacecraft to lunar flyby, Near Rectilinear Halo Orbit (NRHO), L1/L2 points, or Lunar orbit. These capabilities can then be expanded to deliver even larger payloads throughout cis-lunar space, including as high as geostationary orbit (GEO).

Rocket Lab Founder and Chief Executive, Peter Beck, says there is increasing international interest in lunar and beyond LEO exploration from government and private sectors.

"Small satellites will play a crucial role in science and exploration, as well as providing communications and navigation infrastructure to support returning humans to the Moon – they play a vital role as pathfinders to retire risk and lay down infrastructure for future missions," he says. "Just like LEO small spacecraft, many potential exploration instruments and full satellites are on shelves waiting for launch to deeper space. In the same way we opened access to LEO for smallsats, Rocket Lab is poised to become the dedicated ride to the Moon and beyond for small satellites."

The experience gained through multiple orbital Electron launches, and iterative performance improvements to Photon's Curie propulsion system, enables Rocket Lab to undertake extended range missions with proven technology and significant experience. All systems for extended missions are derived from high-heritage flight-proven equipment, including the Curie engine, Kick Stage, Electron composite tanks, and demonstrated expertise in launch and spacecraft guidance, navigation and control.

Rocket Lab's most recent mission, 'As The Crow Flies', was the company's 9th Electron launch and it saw Electron's Kick Stage deploy a payload to an altitude of more than 1,000 km. The mission successfully demonstrated recent upgrades to the 3D-printed Curie propulsion system for Photon, including the move to a bi-propellant design for greatly improved performance.

Photon in particular was architected for use in both LEO and interplanetary missions, with radiation-tolerant avionics, deep space-capable communications and navigation technology, and high-performance space-storable propulsion capable of multiple restarts on orbit. The combination of Photon and Electron has been designed as a complete solution for responsive LEO, MEO and cis-lunar missions, as early as Q4 2020.

About Photon

The Photon spacecraft is an advanced evolution of the Electron's flight-proven Kick Stage. With Electron and Photon, Rocket Lab can provide the platform for an entire small satellite mission, including launch, ground segment and spacecraft bus.

Operating an advanced integration of the 3D printed Curie propulsion system, Photon incorporates high power generation, high-accuracy attitude determination and control, and radiation-tolerant avionics to provide a bundled launch-plus-satellite offering to customers. Photon is an approximately 50 kg wet mass platform, capable of carrying up to 170 kg of payload to low-Earth orbit.

As a high-power and radiation-tolerant vehicle that supports deep space communication and navigation, Photon has been designed with missions beyond LEO in mind. Because Photon is a fully-featured spacecraft, and not simply an injection stage, Photon can deploy a stand-alone payload and still host additional smaller payloads, enabling multiple missions on the one launch.

Photon supports missions that require

  • Precise orbital deployment,
  • Deployment of multiple payloads to different planes/inclinations (rideshares and constellations),
  • Lunar flyby, Near Rectilinear Halo Orbit (NRHO), L1/L2 points, or low-Lunar orbit,
  • Higher orbits that cannot be achieved with launch vehicles alone,
  • A hosted platform for payloads requiring propulsion, power, and downlink,
  • Payload deorbiting upon mission completion.

denali414
Member

Posts: 701
From: Raleigh, NC
Registered: Aug 2017

posted 07-16-2020 07:34 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for denali414   Click Here to Email denali414     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A cool idea, using solar panels for the pump. A huge savings. From Peter Beck:
A sneak peek at a hypercurie nozzle (left) vs. std Curie. Hypercurie is our latest spacecraft engine, it's Electric pumped, on orbit storable, non toxic and It's perfect to get payloads to the moon and... Venus!

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 44577
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 09-03-2020 02:11 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Rocket Lab release
Rocket Lab Launches First In-house Designed and Built Photon Satellite

Space systems company Rocket Lab has launched its first in-house designed and built operational satellite, cementing the company's evolution from a launch provider to an end-to-end space solutions company that offers turnkey satellites and spacecraft components, launch, and on-orbit operations.

The satellite, named 'First Light', is the first spacecraft from Rocket Lab's family of configurable Photon satellites to be deployed to orbit. Launched as a technology demonstration, 'First Light' builds upon the existing capabilities of the Electron launch vehicle's Kick Stage with additional subsystems to enable long duration satellite operations. This pathfinding mission is an initial demonstration of the new power management, thermal control and attitude control subsystem capabilities. By testing these systems for an extended period on orbit, Rocket Lab is building up flight heritage for future Photon satellite missions planned to low Earth orbit, the Moon, and Venus.

'First Light' was deployed to orbit on Rocket Lab's 14th Electron mission, 'I Can't Believe It's Not Optical', which lifted-off from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand on August 31, 2020. Approximately 60 minutes after lift-off, Electron deployed a 100 kg microsatellite for Capella Space, an action that would typically signal the successful completion of a standard Rocket Lab mission. However, shortly after deploying the customer payload, Rocket Lab conducted an entirely new operation for the first time: Rocket Lab engineers sent a command to transition the Kick Stage into Photon satellite mode. This action marked the first on-orbit demonstration of Rocket Lab's Photon satellite as a two-in-one spacecraft, first using it to complete its conventional launch vehicle function to deploy customer satellites, then transitioning into a satellite to continue a standalone mission.

"We started with launch and solved it, releasing small satellites from the time and orbit constraints experienced when flying on larger launch vehicles. Now we've simplified satellites too," said Rocket Lab's founder and CEO, Peter Beck. "Launching the first Photon mission marks a major turning point for space users – it's now easier to launch and operate a space mission than it has ever been. When our customers choose a launch-plus-spacecraft mission with Electron and Photon, they immediately eliminate the complexity, risk, and delays associated with having to build their own satellite hardware and procure a separate launch."

Designed for launch on Electron, as well as other launch vehicles, 'First Light' paves the way for future, high-energy variations of Photon designed for lunar and interplanetary missions, including the CAPSTONE mission to the Moon for NASA in early 2021. Lifting off from Launch Complex 2 in Virginia, Rocket Lab will use the Electron rocket and Photon Lunar spacecraft to launch NASA's Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment (CAPSTONE) CubeSat to Near Rectilinear Halo Orbit (NRHO), the same orbit planned for Artemis.

With the 'First Light' mission, Rocket Lab has completed its first full demonstration of its end-to-end mission services, encompassing mission design, component build and spacecraft assembly, integration and test (AIT), launch, ground segment, and on-orbit mission operation. The process of developing the first on-orbit Photon also enabled Rocket Lab to refine and streamline production and testing processes for higher volume Photon production to meet growing customer demand.

All times are CT (US)

next newest topic | next oldest topic

Administrative Options: Close Topic | Archive/Move | Delete Topic
Post New Topic  Post A Reply
Hop to:

Contact Us | The Source for Space History & Artifacts

Copyright 2020 collectSPACE.com All rights reserved.


Ultimate Bulletin Board 5.47a





advertisement