Rocket Lab Signs Exclusive License Agreement to Manufacture Space Radio Technology at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory


Rocket Lab Signs Exclusive License Agreement to Manufacture Space Radio Technology at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory

Press release from: RocketLab
Posted: Thursday November 18 2021

Rocket Lab USA, Inc. (Nasdaq: RKLB) (“Rocket Lab” or “the Company”), a global leader in launch services and space systems, announced today that it has entered into an exclusive license agreement with the Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) at Johns Hopkins University to commercialize radio control and telemetry technology for small spacecraft capable of using near space and distant. The Frontier-S by Rocket Lab Software Defined Radio (SDR) enables affordable communications and radionavigation for planetary and other missions beyond low Earth orbit (LEO), as well as communications and radionavigation for missions in non-GPS environments.

The Rocket Lab’s Frontier-S, based on the APL Frontier radio that has flown on missions such as the Van Allen probes, Parker Solar Probe, and the Emirates Mars mission, bundles the Deep Space Network and other common waveforms into one single set of raised display boards with commercial components and low power digital signal processing for high reliability applications. Frontier-S by Rocket Lab includes extensive functionality not typically available in a low cost radio, including a coherent transponder to activate radiometric navigation methods, timing functions, and a critical hardware-based command decoder. Compatible with spacecraft as small as 6U cubsesats, the Frontier-S by Rocket Lab SDR offers a lightweight, low power, high radiation tolerance telemetry and control solution for distant space missions, which is also affordable for LEO missions requiring high reliability.

The APL designed and manufactured by Rocket Lab S-border SDRs are flying today on Pathstone, Rocket Lab’s second Photon mission, are currently integrated into Rocket Lab’s upcoming CAPSTONE mission to the Moon for NASA, and are planned for Rocket Lab’s private Photon mission to Venus. The Frontier-S by Rocket Lab is also the basic telemetry and control radio for all Photon missions requiring an S-band radio. Rocket Lab offers the S-border SDR commercially as a standard radio solution for other satellite integrators, joining a growing list of spacecraft component offerings such as reaction wheels and star trackers.

“Frontier-S Radios are another strategic addition to Rocket Lab’s growing space systems portfolio of in-house built products and capabilities, further strengthening our position as an end-to-end space company, ”said Peter Beck, Founder and CEO of Rocket Lab. “Enabling long distance communication and deep space telemetry is difficult for any mission, but especially for small satellites where mass and power constraints are a challenge. S-border radios offer a compelling communications solution for interplanetary missions, as well as those closer to home in low earth orbit. The APL has a long history of making essential contributions to NASA and international missions to address the challenges of space, applying science, engineering and technology to develop spacecraft, instruments and subsystems of space. point. We are delighted to combine APL’s strong history of innovation with Rocket Lab’s proven ability to manufacture high volumes to deliver a cutting edge communications solution at competitive costs and on short notice.


About Rocket Lab

Founded in 2006, Rocket Lab is an end-to-end space company with a proven track record of mission success. We provide reliable launch services, spacecraft components, satellites, and other spacecraft and in-orbit management solutions that make accessing space faster, easier and more affordable. Based in Long Beach, Calif., Rocket Lab designs and manufactures the small Electron orbital launcher and Photon satellite platform and develops the 8 ton Neutron payload class launcher. Since its first orbital launch in January 2018, Rocket Lab’s Electron launcher has become the second most frequently launched US rocket each year and has placed 105 satellites into orbit for private and public sector organizations, enabling operations in the fields of national security, scientific research and space debris mitigation. , Earth observation, climate monitoring and communications. Rocket Lab’s Photon spacecraft platform was selected to support NASA’s missions to the Moon and Mars, as well as the first private trade 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, one of which is currently operational, and a second launch site in Virginia, United States. -Unis, which should become operational by the end of 2021. For more information, visit

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