Launch provider Rocket Lab, based in the US and New Zealand, has just signed a non-exclusive Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with spacecraft platform developer York Space Systems in order to accelerate mission integration for launches.
Under the MoU, the two companies will develop a universal Interface Control Document (ICD) and supporting Concepts of Operations (CONOPS) that will streamline the process for small satellite launches. Part of this will be to set up a framework to shorten the integration process required for York satellites on Rocket Lab’s Electron launch vehicle, including developing compatible standard launch integration products.
Rocket Lab founder and CEO Peter Beck says the combination of York’s standard satellite bus offering and Rocket Lab’s operational Electron launch vehicle makes for a disruptive offering to the market in the form of rapid launch manifesting and significant reductions in cost lowering the barriers to entry for whole new generations of data collection and analytics solutions.
“Sending a satellite to orbit used to mean commissioning a large, one-off spacecraft that required a purpose-built payload adapter and often a tailored launch vehicle. By developing an optional standardized launch vehicle and bus ICD we can radically reduce the customer costs and speed up the manifesting process to get satellites on orbit faster,” says Mr. Beck.
“Part of York’s mission is to streamline the process for companies to get into space,” said Dirk Wallinger, CEO of York Space Systems. “To be able to join forces with Rocket Lab is a crucial step for us as a company. Together, we look forward to helping deliver these initiatives and move the needle forward for small sat launches of the future.”