Rocket Lab Launches OHB’s Fast-track Communications Satellite

Electron launches with OHB satellite. (Credit: Rocket Lab webcast)

MAHIA PENINSULA, NZ, Jan. 20, 2021 (OHB PR) — OHB Cosmos International, a company of OHB’s newly established business segment OHB DIGITAL, successfully launched the telecommunication satellite GMS-T on board an Electron launcher.

The satellite took off from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 on New Zealand’s Māhia Peninsula at 7.26 a.m. (UCT) on January 20th.The launch was performed only seven months after starting engineering activities for the satellite. After having reached the planned 1200 km/90 degree orbit the satellite has been activated and works as planned.

GMS-T is the first prototype spacecraft for a planned new multi-hundred telecommunication satellite constellation in LEO using microwave broadband radio communication links. Besides testing the new technology radio payload and spacecraft platform, this first satellite will also bring into use the ITU (International Telecommunication Union) registered frequencies. OHB Cosmos is responsible for all planned test sequences and the operation of the satellite for the whole operational lifetime until entry into the automatic deorbiting phase. Furthermore OHB Cosmos engineered and integrated the telecommunications payload, which was only possible in time due to the performance and reactivity of its main suppliers MDA, Arralis and IQ Wireless.

“With outstanding agility, reactiveness and flexibility, OHB and its key partners were able to engineer, assemble, test and launch this satellite in an unmatched contract-to-launch time,” said Dr. Lutz Bertling, Chief Digital Officer of OHB Group. The satellite in the 50 kg class is based on OHB Sweden’s Innosat platform. OHB Sweden as system integrator has been responsible for the satellite platform, the integration and testing of the overall satellite and is – after an initial phase – planned to operate the satellite on behalf of OHB Cosmos. A further company from the OHB family was involved: The entire spacecraft structural analysis work was performed by OHB Czechspace.

“Rocket Lab did a great job to deliver on short notice the capability to install the satellite at the target orbit including using Electrons kickstage. We would like to thank our employees and our partners for their outstanding contribution to this great achievement. The New Space Approach applied shows the capabilities of OHB and its partners to respond to today’s customer requirements for rapid response for space based applications,” said Dr. Lutz Bertling.