WASHINGTON — Small launch vehicle company Rocket Lab will offer rides to the moon for small payloads and, through a partnership, ground station services for Earth orbit customers, the company announced this week.
Rocket Lab said Oct. 21 it was adding lunar payload services to Photon, a satellite bus it unveiled in April. Photon will be able to carry payloads to lunar orbit or the nearby L-1 and L-2 Lagrange points for an undisclosed price.
In an interview during the 70th International Astronautical Congress here, Peter Beck, chief executive of Rocket Lab, said Photon will be able to carry 10 to 20 kilograms of payload to the moon, such as scientific instruments. Photon will handle all the other services needed for the mission, including power, propulsion and communications.
Beck said Rocket Lab decided to pursue lunar missions based on both customer inquiries and internal interest. “We’ve been pleasantly surprised with the kinds of things we can do with it,” he said of Photon. “This is kind of the next evolution. There’s a lot of opportunity here.”
Rocket Lab doesn’t have any customers for lunar missions yet, but Beck said there’s been interest from both governments and companies, who could use ...