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Rocket Lab Selected by MDA to Deliver Satellite Operations Control Center for Globalstar Constellation

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
November 10, 2022

LONG BEACH, Calif. (Rocket Lab PR) — Rocket Lab USA, Inc (Nasdaq: RKLB) (“Rocket Lab” or “the Company”), a leading launch and space systems company, today announced it has been selected by MDA Ltd (TSX: MDA) to develop the Satellite Operations Control Center (SOCC) for Globalstar’s (NYSE American: GSAT) growing constellation. MDA is the prime contractor for Globalstar’s new Low Earth Orbit constellation.

The SOCC contract builds on the existing relationship between MDA, Rocket Lab, and Globalstar established in February 2022 when Rocket Lab was awarded a $143 million contract design and manufacture of 17 spacecraft buses for Globalstar’s new Low Earth Orbit satellites. These new satellites and SOCC will augment Globalstar’s existing constellation, delivering reliable mobile satellite voice and data services from space.

The SOCC system will be developed by Rocket Lab’s Denver, Colorado ground data systems team and based on the MAX Ground Data System (MAX GDS). MAX GDS is in use on several satellites and constellations, including the DARPA/SDA Mandrake-2 mission involving two formation flying spacecraft performing optical crosslink demonstrations. The Globalstar SOCC will provide 24/7 monitoring and management of Globalstar’s constellation including:

  • Continuous satellite control and monitoring using Rocket Lab’s MAX GDS, a constellation-class ground software solution that provides complete spacecraft command and control.
  • Satellite orbit determination, maneuver planning, collision avoidance, orbit maintenance, and propellant management.
  • Satellite health analysis and reporting, anomaly resolution, performance trending, payload monitoring, management, and reconfiguration.

“The combination of our proven MAX GDS software and our deep expertise operating demanding and complex missions makes us an ideal choice for the Globalstar project, and we’re honored by the confidence and trust MDA have placed in us to deliver consistent mission success for years to come,” said Peter Beck, Rocket Lab founder and CEO. “By designing and manufacturing Globalstar’s spacecraft buses, delivering the flight and ground software solutions, and developing and supporting the spacecraft operations centers, we’re once again executing on our strategy of going beyond launch to deliver complete space mission solutions.”

The SOCC is designed to support Globalstar’s existing constellation and the new 17 satellites. The MAX GDS solution will be deployed to all of Globalstar’s existing operations and network control centers in Covington, LA, Milpitas, CA and Aussaguel, France.

All 17 of the new Globalstar spacecraft platforms are being designed and manufactured at Rocket Lab’s Long Beach production complex and headquarters, where a new high-volume spacecraft manufacturing line has been developed to support growing customer demand for Rocket Lab satellites. The satellite platforms will be delivered to MDA for integration and testing. Leveraging Rocket Lab’s vertically integrated space systems capabilities, the satellite platforms feature components and subsystems produced by Rocket Lab-acquired companies including solar panels and structures from SolAero Technologies in Albuquerque, New Mexico, software from ASI by Rocket Lab in Denver, Colorado, and reaction wheels from Sinclair Interplanetary in Toronto, Canada. The telemetry and control radio for all spacecraft will also be a C-band variant of Rocket Lab’s Frontier Satellite Radio (Frontier-C).

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