Rocket Lab signs contract to launch first satellites for Kleos Space constellation
(19 September 2018 - Rocket Lab) US orbital launch provider Rocket Lab has signed a contract with Luxembourg-based satellite technology company Kleos Space to launch scouting mission satellites that will geolocate maritime radio to guard borders, protect assets and save lives.
The Kleos Scouting Mission (KSM) will form the cornerstones of a 20-system constellation that will geolocate VHF transmissions from marine vessels to provide global activity-based intelligence data as a service. The Kleos Space constellation will detect radio transmissions and pinpoint their origin and timing, enabling governments and organizations to detect activity such as drug and people smuggling, illegal fishing and piracy, and also identify those in need of search and rescue at sea.
Built by GomSpace, the Kleos Space satellites are scheduled to launch on an Electron rocket from Launch Complex-1 in mid-2019. The satellites will be integrated into Rocket Lab’s in-house designed and built Maxwell dispensers and deployed from the Electron kick stage to low Earth orbit. Rocket Lab’s unique kick stage, powered by the 3D printed Curie engine, is designed to circularize small satellite orbits and perform complex manoeuvres, including multiple engine burns, to deploy many satellites into different orbits. This provides unmatched mission flexibility, making it ideal for deploying and replenishing constellations.
“Small satellite technology like that of Kleos Space is increasingly playing a vital role in informing decisions on the ground that protect people and the environment. We’re thrilled to be partnering with Kleos Space to provide them with the rapid and reliable access to orbit needed to build and replenish small satellite constellations,” said Peter Beck, Rocket Lab CEO and founder.
“Rocket Lab’s technology provides us with the flexibility we need to grow our satellite constellation and respond to the demanding market needs. We are thrilled to launch our first satellites with a new space company which meets our business philosophy”, says Andy Bowyer, CEO Kleos Space.