Rocket Lab Ships Final Solar Panels for NASA's Gateway Power and Propulsion Element

Rocket Lab Ships Final Solar Panels for NASA's Gateway Power and Propulsion Element

Rocket Lab USA, one of the leading launch and space systems companies, has delivered the final solar panels to Maxar that will fly on the Power and Propulsion Element (PPE) for NASA’s Gateway lunar space station.

SolAero Technologies, a leading space solar power provider acquired by Rocket Lab, was awarded the contract in 2019 from Maxar to design and manufacture the solar panels that will supply nearly 70 kilowatts of electrical power to Gateway, an essential element of NASA’s Artemis missions that will land the first woman and first person of color on the surface of the Moon.

Gateway is an international collaboration to establish humanity’s first space station in lunar orbit supporting sustained crewed and uncrewed deep space exploration and research and helping pave the way to Mars. The orbiting outpost will include docking ports for a variety of spacecraft, space for the crew to live and work, and onboard science investigations to study heliophysics, human health, and life sciences. The PPE is a high-power, solar electric propulsion spacecraft that will provide power, high-rate communications, altitude control, and orbital transfer capabilities.

The solar panels incorporate Rocket Lab’s quadruple-junction “Z4J” solar cells and utilize automated assembly methods pioneered by the Company’s Albuquerque-based team for the high-volume production of satellite solar panels. The Z4J solar cells exhibit 30.0% minimum average conversion efficiency at beginning-of-life (BOL) and superior radiation hardness and temperature performance when compared to other Germanium-based solar cells.

“We are proud to have delivered the final modules to our partners at Maxar for assembly of the Roll Out Solar Array by Deployable Space Systems,” said Brad Clevenger, Rocket Lab’s Vice President & General Manager, Space Systems Power Solutions. “It is an honor for us to be providing such a critical component to Gateway and be part of humanity’s first space station in lunar orbit.”

“The delivery of these solar modules is another feather in our cap to support the Artemis program,” said Peter Beck, Rocket Lab founder, and CEO. “In addition to being an integral part of powering the Power and Propulsion Element, Rocket Lab will also provide the power to the Orion spacecraft that will carry astronauts from Earth to lunar orbit, and this comes off the back of our recent successful launch of the CAPSTONE spacecraft, a pathfinder satellite for NASA that is designed to test the same orbit intended for Gateway.”

Click here to learn more about the Power and Propulsion Element (PPE).

Publisher: SatNow

GNSS Constellations - A list of all GNSS satellites by constellations


Satellite NameOrbit Date
BeiDou-3 G4Geostationary Orbit (GEO)17 May, 2023
BeiDou-3 G2Geostationary Orbit (GEO)09 Mar, 2020
Compass-IGSO7Inclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)09 Feb, 2020
BeiDou-3 M19Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)16 Dec, 2019
BeiDou-3 M20Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)16 Dec, 2019
BeiDou-3 M21Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)23 Nov, 2019
BeiDou-3 M22Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)23 Nov, 2019
BeiDou-3 I3Inclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)04 Nov, 2019
BeiDou-3 M23Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)22 Sep, 2019
BeiDou-3 M24Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)22 Sep, 2019


Satellite NameOrbit Date
GSAT0223MEO - Near-Circular05 Dec, 2021
GSAT0224MEO - Near-Circular05 Dec, 2021
GSAT0219MEO - Near-Circular25 Jul, 2018
GSAT0220MEO - Near-Circular25 Jul, 2018
GSAT0221MEO - Near-Circular25 Jul, 2018
GSAT0222MEO - Near-Circular25 Jul, 2018
GSAT0215MEO - Near-Circular12 Dec, 2017
GSAT0216MEO - Near-Circular12 Dec, 2017
GSAT0217MEO - Near-Circular12 Dec, 2017
GSAT0218MEO - Near-Circular12 Dec, 2017


Satellite NameOrbit Date
Kosmos 2569--07 Aug, 2023
Kosmos 2564--28 Nov, 2022
Kosmos 2559--10 Oct, 2022
Kosmos 2557--07 Jul, 2022
Kosmos 2547--25 Oct, 2020
Kosmos 2545--16 Mar, 2020
Kosmos 2544--11 Dec, 2019
Kosmos 2534--27 May, 2019
Kosmos 2529--03 Nov, 2018
Kosmos 2527--16 Jun, 2018


Satellite NameOrbit Date
Navstar 82Medium Earth Orbit19 Jan, 2023
Navstar 81Medium Earth Orbit17 Jun, 2021
Navstar 78Medium Earth Orbit22 Aug, 2019
Navstar 77Medium Earth Orbit23 Dec, 2018
Navstar 76Medium Earth Orbit05 Feb, 2016
Navstar 75Medium Earth Orbit31 Oct, 2015
Navstar 74Medium Earth Orbit15 Jul, 2015
Navstar 73Medium Earth Orbit25 Mar, 2015
Navstar 72Medium Earth Orbit29 Oct, 2014
Navstar 71Medium Earth Orbit02 Aug, 2014


Satellite NameOrbit Date
NVS-01Geostationary Orbit (GEO)29 May, 2023
IRNSS-1IInclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)12 Apr, 2018
IRNSS-1HSub Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (Sub-GTO)31 Aug, 2017
IRNSS-1GGeostationary Orbit (GEO)28 Apr, 2016
IRNSS-1FGeostationary Orbit (GEO)10 Mar, 2016
IRNSS-1EGeosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)20 Jan, 2016
IRNSS-1DInclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)28 Mar, 2015
IRNSS-1CGeostationary Orbit (GEO)16 Oct, 2014
IRNSS-1BInclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)04 Apr, 2014
IRNSS-1AInclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)01 Jul, 2013