Under the contract, Curtiss-Wright will supply Rocket Lab with its Space COTS Acra KAM-500 DAU products. The DAU will acquire data from various analog and digital sensors onboard the Electron, Rocket Lab’s dedicated vehicle for launching small satellites and other payloads to Low Earth Orbit (LEO). Under the initial contract, which covers the first batch of Electron launchers, DAU deliveries will begin in May 2016 and continue through May 2017.
The KAM-500 is a rugged, modular data acquisition solution that is made affordable by leveraging an extensive library of IP, built over decades of design for the space and flight test instrumentation markets. Used in numerous space applications, including aboard the International Space Station and the European Space Agency’s IXV launch vehicle, Curtiss-Wright’s Space COTS KAM-500 DAU is designed to meet Space Product Assurance standards. The KAM-500 rugged chassis features a standard backplane that accepts over 100+ user selected modules. This highly configurable system enables fully customized systems to be built using affordable COTS products. Due to a combination of its reliability in harsh environments, modularity and scalability, the KAM-500 offers a very low cost of ownership.
Rocket Lab’s two-stage Electron vehicle is a dedicated launch service for small satellites to Low Earth Orbit. Its innovative design uses advanced carbon composites for a strong and lightweight flight structure. The Electron vehicle is powered by the Rutherford liquid engine, an entirely new electric propulsion cycle, that uses electric motors to drive its turbo-pumps. It is the first oxygen/hydrocarbon engine to use 3D printing for all primary components. Rocket Lab is currently constructing an orbital launch site on New Zealand’s Mahia Peninsula in preparation for test flights of Electron. When the site is completed, Rocket Lab will be the first commercial company to build and operate an orbital range.