Rocket Lab selects space-qualified, rugged Curtiss-Wright data-acquisition systems for satellite and spacecraft launch vehicle

ASHBURN, Va., 13 April 2016. Rocket Lab aerospace engineers selected rugged, modular Data Acquisition Unit (DAU) technology from Curtiss-Wright’s Defense Solutions division in Ashburn, Virginia, for use on the Electron launch vehicle. Rocket Lab officials have contracted Rocket Labs taps Curtiss-Wright to supply its Space commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) Acra KAM-500 DAU products, which 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.

Apr 13th, 2016
Rocket Lab selects space-qualified, rugged Curtiss-Wright data-acquisition systems for satellite and spacecraft launch vehicle
Rocket Lab selects space-qualified, rugged Curtiss-Wright data-acquisition systems for satellite and spacecraft launch vehicle

ASHBURN, Va., 13 April 2016. Rocket Lab aerospace engineers selected rugged, modular Data Acquisition Unit (DAU) technology from Curtiss-Wright’s Defense Solutions division in Ashburn, Virginia, for use on the Electron launch vehicle. Rocket Lab officials have contracted Rocket Labs taps Curtiss-Wright to supply its Space commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) Acra KAM-500 DAU products, which 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.

DAU deliveries will begin in May 2016 and continue through May 2017 under the initial contract, which covers the first batch of Electron launchers.

The KAM-500 is a rugged, modular data acquisition solution 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.

“Curtiss-Wright is excited to have been selected by Rocket Lab to provide our industry-leading, space-qualified data acquisition technology for use on the Electron launch vehicle,” said Lynn Bamford, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Defense Solutions division. “With our long legacy of innovation in aviation and aerospace, reaching back to founders Glenn Curtiss and the Wright brothers, Curtiss-Wright is very proud to contribute to Rocket Lab’s historic efforts to make Low Earth Orbit accessible by providing high-frequency, dedicated launch.”

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.

Curtiss-Wright brings the benefits of COTS products to the space industry. Space COTS electronics can significantly reduce cost, development time, and risk through the use of an extensive library of intellectual property and decades of rugged system design experience. Curtiss-Wright has experience on a wide range of missions and with leading space organizations and companies around the world, including Boeing, SpaceX, NASA, ESA, Scaled Composites, ULA, Airbus DS, Thales Alenia Space, and Sierra Nevada. Based on open architecture modular COTS hardware, Curtiss-Wright’s Acra KAM-500 has a long heritage in space applications including experimental aircraft, launchers, re-entry vehicles and orbital platforms.

Curtiss-Wright manufactures the products covered by this agreement at its Acra facility in Dublin, Ireland. The products will be shipped to Rocket Lab in New Zealand.

Curtiss-Wright Corporation delivers highly engineered, critical function products and services to the commercial, industrial, defense and energy markets. Building on the heritage of Glenn Curtiss and the Wright brothers, Curtiss-Wright has a long tradition of providing reliable solutions through trusted customer relationships. The company employs approximately 8,400 people worldwide.


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