The company also secretly launched its own satellite, called Photon, which could one day fly ambitious missions into deep space.
The Photon is based on Rocket Lab’s “Kick Stage”, a small rocket designed to increase payloads to satellites in their final circular orbit once the Electron takes them into space.
However, instead of just filling in the payment system, it will charge
The Photon has additional electronics, steering sensors, power generating units, and tools like cameras, meaning that a Photon can act as a satellite by itself so that customers do not need to contract with third-party suppliers to design and build it.
Usually, once Kick Stage does its job, Rocket Lab disassembles its orbit to burn up in the atmosphere, however, this time sending a command about it to Photonic Satellite Mode to continue with a standalone mission.
Called “First Light”, it was designed as a demonstration, equipped with solar panels and a camera that can take pictures of itself and the Earth.
Rocket Lab CEO Peter Beck said in a statement: “Ultimately, customers will be able to choose a launch mission in addition to a spacecraft with the Electron Rocket and Photon satellites, which eliminates the complexity, risks and delays associated with the need to build their own satellite hardware. Them and buy a separate device. ”
Beck added that the company secretly released the Photon “to make sure it is good and functional before it is announced, and that a high-energy version of the Photon will eventually fly lunar and interplanetary missions, including NASA’s Capstone mission in early 2021.”