COLORADO SPRINGS — After establishing a foothold in the small launch vehicle market, Rocket Lab is now planning to enter the small satellite field with a bus the company says can get customers to orbit faster.
At the 35th Space Symposium here, Rocket Lab unveiled Photon, a smallsat based on the kick stage the company uses on its Electron rocket. The company is offering Photon as part of an end-to-end service that includes an Electron launch and the option of handling spacecraft operations.
In an interview, Rocket Lab chief executive Peter Beck pitched Photon as a platform that allows customers to integrate a variety of payloads, from Earth observation cameras to communications equipment, and get them into orbit in less time than if companies built their own satellites.
“We see a lot of companies, especially in the NewSpace sector, building their satellites for the first time,” he said. “They’re trying to provide a data service but they have to go through all the learning of developing their own satellite, rather than get straight to revenue.”
Beck argued that Rocket Lab’s integrated approach will be more efficient and less risky for startups. “You can use not only a proven launch vehicle ...