The private rocket company Rocket Lab has now completed construction on the Photon transport spacecraft that the private company Varda has purchased to maneuver and then de-orbit its private returnable space capsule in which it plans to manufacture pharmaceuticals while in orbit and then return to Earth for sale.
Rocket Lab made the spacecraft at its Long Beach manufacturing site to provide power, communications, propulsion and attitude control to a capsule that will produce pharmaceutical products in microgravity. In addition to providing support during the in-space phase of Varda’s mission, the Photon will put Varda’s capsule carrying finished pharmaceuticals on a return trajectory to Earth.
This is the first of four Photon spacecraft that Varda has purchased from Rocket Lab. Varda appears to be attempting to continue the pharmaceutical work that McDonnell-Douglas did on the space shuttle, and was on the verge of flying a full-scale production mission for profit, when the Challenger accident occurred in 1986 and ended all further commercial work on the shuttle.
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