After the satellite was deployed, Rocket Lab sent a command to make it start operating like a satellite. “There was a real magical moment sitting with the engineers, where we sent a command to the kick stage. “For me personally, there was a real magical moment sitting with the engineers, where we sent a command to the kick stage,” Peter Beck, Rocket Lab’s CEO, said during a live stream announcing the satellite’s launch.
On August 30th, the company’s Electron rocket took off from Rocket Lab’s primary launch site in New Zealand, lofting a single satellite for the company Capella Space.
The idea behind these Photon satellites is that they can be affordably customized to help Rocket Lab’s customers get to orbit — without having to engineer their own satellites in the process. “We’re really trying to reduce the barrier here to get innovation and your ideas on orbit quickly,” Beck said.
Small satellite launcher Rocket Lab says it has successfully flown one of its own satellites, demonstrating that the spacecraft’s design holds up in Earth orbit.
The satellite was Electron’s kick stage — a small platform that sits on top of the rocket, helping to give satellites on the vehicle an extra boost in space.
It’s the first time the company has flown its in-house cylindrical spacecraft, known as the Photon, which Rocket Lab hopes to sell to customers for use in ambitious deep-space missions.
The fact that Rocket Lab launched this satellite without publicly telling anyone may rub some people the wrong way, as it wasn’t the first time the company has launched a satellite in secret.
When asked why the company didn’t announce the Photon demonstration prior to launch, Beck said he wanted to make sure they executed and delivered the product first. “Well, I kind of like to just do stuff, and make sure it’s all good and it works before announcing it,” Beck said during a press conference.