Rocket Lab's first in-house built satellite launched into orbit Monday as part of its 14th Electron mission that took off from a launch complex in New Zealand and fielded a microsatellite for Capella Space.
First Light is part of the Photon family of satellites and was deployed as a technology demonstration, the company said Thursday.
After fielding the customer satellite payload, Rocket Lab engineers transmitted a command to the launch vehicle's Kick Stage in order for it to transition into Photon satellite.
“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,“ said Peter Beck, founder and CEO of Rocket Lab. “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.“
Rocket Lab demonstrated mission design, integration and test, spacecraft assembly, launch and on-orbit mission operations with the deployment of the First Light satellite.
The company unveiled a new headquarters and production facility in Long Beach, California, to support the production of Photon satellites and acquired satellite hardware provider Sinclair Interplanetary to expand its space systems division.