Rocket Lab has partnered with Kongsberg Satellite Services (KSAT) to be the sole provider of ground station services for the Electron launch vehicle and Photon satellite bus customers.
This agreement sees Rocket Lab deliver a complete solution for smallsat operators, including satellite design and build, launch, and ground segment support leveraging an existing global network of ground stations.
Rocket Lab’s Electron launch vehicle is currently the only commercial, dedicated smallsat launch vehicle operating a service to orbit, making space more accessible for small satellites. With a proven launch vehicle in operation since January 2018, the next evolution of Rocket Lab’s mission services is the Photon satellite bus. Designed for seamless pairing with Electron, the Photon satellite bus streamlines the entire end-to-end satellite experience for customers from design to build to launch.
Likewise, KSAT’s KSATlite ground network is designed and optimized for small satellite systems, providing streamlined access (through standardized API driven interfaces) and scalable support that grows to meet mission needs.
The closely integrated partnership with KSAT now provides launch to operations ground segment support for Photon customers – the final piece for small satellite operators seeking an end-to-end mission partner. This enables small satellite operators to focus on what really matters—their applications and their customers—freeing engineering time and capital from having to develop a spacecraft platform, secure a launch, and coordinate access to ground stations from different providers.
The partnership between Rocket Lab and KSAT provides Photon customers downlink and uplink capabilities in UHF, S-band, X-band, and Ka-band across a global ground station network of over 200 antennas that supports 50,000 contacts per month.
Rocket Lab Chief Executive and founder, Peter Beck, stated that the company’s partnership with KSAT will play an important role in continuing to streamline the path to orbit for small satellite operators. Rocket Lab has solved the launch challenge when the firm began regular and reliable launch services in January of 2018. Now the company is simplifying the spacecraft side of the equation with the combination of Photon and KSAT’s ground network support.
Head of KSAT USA, Katherine Monson, noted that there is an enormous rise in demand for data from small satellites in space, yet the challenges of procuring launch, building your own spacecraft and then having to coordinate ground communications can be time and cost prohibitive. This partnership with Rocket Lab and its Photon customers means small satellite operators will now have access to reliable, scalable services across our global network – starting with support on a per-pass basis and options to move to full antennas as their communication demand grows. KSAT is the bridge back to Earth for both the Electron launch vehicle and Photon customer payloads, thereby making space more accessible, through cost-efficient access and proven mission assurance.
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