Credit: Globalstar

Long Beach, California. 24 February 2022 – Rocket Lab USA, Inc. (Nasdaq: RKLB) (“Rocket Lab” or “the Company”), a global leader in launch services and space systems, today announced that it has been awarded a subcontract by MDA Ltd (TSX: MDA), a leading provider of advanced technology and services to the rapidly expanding global space industry, to lead the design and manufacture of 17 spacecraft buses for Globalstar’s new Low Earth Orbit satellites. Globalstar, Inc. (NYSE American: GSAT) is a leading provider of Mobile Satellite Services including customizable satellite IoT solutions for individuals and businesses globally.

Rocket Lab will lead the development of the spacecraft buses, while MDA will act as prime contractor to manufacture Globalstar’s satellites, lead the development of the payload, and perform the final satellite assembly, integration, and test. The partnership between Rocket Lab and MDA brings together two of the space industry’s most innovative satellite companies. The total initial contract value for Rocket Lab is US$143 million, with options to provide the satellite operations control center, launch dispensers, launch integration, and up to nine additional spacecraft with flexibility in timing to order such spacecraft. The satellites will integrate with and replenish Globalstar’s current constellation, ensuring service continuity. Globalstar expects to launch the satellites by the end of 2025.

“We are thrilled to be collaborating with MDA to develop Globalstar’s new satellites and are honoured to have the trust and support of two of the space industry’s most innovative companies,” said Peter Beck, Founder and CEO of Rocket Lab. “With this contract Rocket Lab is executing on its strategy to go beyond launch and lead the new space economy by delivering complete mission solutions spanning spacecraft manufacture, satellite subsystems, flight software, ground operations, and launch.”

“Cross-company collaboration and co-development is key to bringing new capabilities to market quickly to meet growing customer demand for advanced satellite technology,” said Mike Greenley, CEO of MDA. “Rocket Lab is a strong fit for MDA and working with them on this system is an opportunity to flex, expand, and strengthen the capabilities of both companies, now and in the future.”

All 17 of the 500kg spacecraft will be designed and manufactured at Rocket Lab’s Long Beach production complex and headquarters, where a new high-volume spacecraft manufacturing line is being developed to support growing customer demand for Rocket Lab satellites. Leveraging Rocket Lab’s vertically integrated space systems capabilities, the satellites will feature components and subsystems produced by Rocket Lab’s recently acquired companies including solar panels and structures from SolAero Technologies in Albuquerque, New Mexico, software from ASI by Rocket Lab in Denver, Colorado, and reaction wheels from Sinclair Interplanetary in Toronto, Canada. The telemetry and control radio for all spacecraft will also be a C-band variant of Rocket Lab’s Frontier Satellite Radio (Frontier-C).

The contract is the result of a very detailed and highly competitive bid and evaluation process and Rocket Lab is honoured to have been selected by MDA. We believe Rocket Lab’s proposal met MDA’s and Globalstar’s stringent technical and schedule requirements, offered efficiencies through Rocket Lab’s high level of vertical integration, and that there is also strong cultural and operational alignment between the companies to deliver innovation and agility in today’s satellite market.

Rocket Lab’s suite of spacecraft components and subsystems include reaction wheels, star trackers, space solar power, radios, flight software, ground software, and separation systems. More than 1,000 spacecraft globally have successfully flown with hardware from Rocket Lab and the four companies it has acquired since 2020.

About Rocket Lab

Founded in 2006, Rocket Lab is an end-to-end space company with an established track record of mission success. We deliver reliable launch services, satellite manufacture, spacecraft components, and on-orbit management solutions that make it faster, easier and more affordable to access space. Headquartered in Long Beach, California, Rocket Lab designs and manufactures the Electron small orbital launch vehicle and the Photon satellite platform and is developing the Neutron 8-ton payload class launch vehicle. Since its first orbital launch in January 2018, Rocket Lab’s Electron launch vehicle has become the second most frequently launched U.S. rocket annually and has delivered 109 satellites to orbit for private and public sector organizations, enabling operations in national security, scientific research, space debris mitigation, Earth observation, climate monitoring, and communications. Rocket Lab’s Photon spacecraft platform has been selected to support NASA missions to the Moon and Mars, as well as the first private commercial mission to Venus. Rocket Lab has three launch pads at two launch sites, including two launch pads at a private orbital launch site located in New Zealand and a second launch site in Virginia, USA which is expected to become operational in 2022.

Source: Rocket Lab

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Kris Christiaens

This article was published by FutureSpaceFlight founder and chief editor Kris Christiaens. Kris Christiaens has been passionate and fascinated by spaceflight and space exploration all his life and has written hundreds of articles on space projects, the commercial space industry and space missions over the past 20 years for magazines, books and websites. In late 2021, he founded the website FutureSpaceFlight with the goal of promoting new space companies and commercial space projects and compiling news of these start-ups and companies on one website.