LONG BEACH, CA–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Rocket Lab USA, Inc. (Nasdaq: RKLB) (“Rocket Lab” or “the Company”), a leading launch and space systems company, today announced that it has acquired from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). chosen as the supplier are solar panels that will power NASA’s shoebox-sized mobile robots as part of the Cooperative Autonomous Distributed Robotic Explorers (CADRE) program.
The solar panels will use Rocket Lab’s inverted metamorphic multi-junction (IMM) solar cells, which are more efficient and lighter than standard multi-junction space solar cells and provide the exact capabilities needed for the program. The IMM cells were developed by SolAero Technologies Inc, a leading space solar energy company, which was acquired by Rocket Lab in January 2022.
IMM solar cells are a superior type of space-grade solar cell, offering best-in-class efficiency at 40% less mass than typical space-grade solar cells. The IMM also powers General Atomics’ GAzelle spacecraft, which Rocket Lab is launching as part of its 31st birthdaySt Electron emission earlier this month.
The CADRE robots are the next generation of NASA’s A-PUFFER (Autonomous Pop-Up Flat Folding Explorer Robots) technology. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory is developing the CADRE robots to explore as a group to collect data in the most inaccessible places on the Moon, Mars and beyond.
“We are incredibly proud to support innovative new means of space exploration,” said Brad Clevenger, Rocket Lab’s vice president of space systems. “The CADRE program could help map unexplored regions on the moon and reach hard-to-reach parts of Mars, increasing our understanding of distant planets and the moon.”
CADRE is scheduled to fly as a technology demonstration on a commercial robotic lander within the next five years as part of NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services initiative.
+ ABOUT Rocket Lab
Founded in 2006, Rocket Lab is an end-to-end space company with a proven track record of mission success. We deliver reliable launch services, satellite manufacturing, spacecraft components and on-orbit management solutions that make access to space faster, easier and less expensive.
Rocket Lab, headquartered in Long Beach, California, designs and manufactures the small orbital Electron launch vehicle and the Photon satellite platform, and the company is developing the large Neutron launch vehicle for use in constellations. Since its first orbital launch in January 2018, Rocket Lab’s Electron launch vehicle has been the second most-launched U.S. rocket per year, putting 151 satellites into orbit for private and public sector organizations to support national security, scientific research, and global operations to enable containment of space debris, earth observation, climate monitoring and communications. Rocket Lab’s Photon spacecraft platform was 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 in New Zealand and a second launch site in Virginia, USA, which is expected to be operational in 2022. To learn more, visit www. rocketlabusa.com.