Photon

As the global leader in small satellite launch, Rocket Lab has now introduced the next evolution of its mission services, the in-house designed and built Photon satellite platform.

Rocket Lab now delivers an all-inclusive spacecraft build and launch service that enables small satellite customers to focus on delivering their service from orbit and generating revenue, rather than building their own satellite hardware. Our customers simply bring their payload or idea and we do the rest, taking care of the complete satellite design, build and launch as a bundled and streamlined experience.

Photon is an advanced and planned evolution of the Rocket Lab Kick Stage. Operating a high-powered iteration of the flight-proven 3D printed Curie propulsion system, Photon can support missions with up to a five year on-orbit life span. Equipped with an S-band communication system, a high-fidelity attitude control system, and a robust avionics suite, Photon is the complete spacecraft solution for a range of LEO missions, from constellation development, through to technology demonstrations and hosted payloads.

kick stage
back of satellite
front of satellite
Performance Specifications
Available payload mass Up to 170 kg (orbit dependent). From 37 degrees to SSO
Available payload volume Electron fairing envelope
Payload power (peak) 100 W to 1 kW
Payload energy/orbit Up to 300 Whr
System voltage 28 V unregulated; regulated options available
Pointing accuracy 5 deg to 50 arc-sec
Slew rate Up to 5 deg/s
Pointing stability Up to TBS arcsec/sec
Orbit knowledge 5 - 10 m
Delta-v capacity Payload dependent
Payload data interfaces LVDS, ethernet, CAN, RS422/485
Payload data storage Up to 1 TB
Telemetry & command frequencies S-band (space operations)
Telemetry and command data rate Up to 512 kbps
Payload transmitter Payload dependent; multiple options available
Orbit type and lifetime LEO > 5 years