Rocket Lab today celebrated the successful delivery of its 150th satellite into space following the launch of a dedicated mission for Japanese Earth-observation company Synspective.
The mission, dubbed “The Owl Spreads Its Wings,” blasted off from Rocket Lab’s New Zealand complex at 1:38 p.m. Long Beach time. It carried Synspective’s StriX-1 satellite to a 563-kilometer circular Earth orbit, joining other StriX satellites launched by Rocket Lab in February of this year and in December 2020.
Synspective’s synthetic aperture radar satellite constellation will be able to deliver images that can detect millimeter-level changes to Earth’s surface regardless of weather conditions or time of day.
“The Owl Spreads Its Wings” was Rocket Lab’s 30th launch of its Electron rocket. The launch was the seventh of this year, with the company boasting a 100% success rate in 2022.
The mission also marked the 300th Rutherford engine reaching space. The liquid-propellent engine was designed by Rocket Lab and is almost completely 3D printed at its Long Beach facility.
The Electron rocket is equipped with a total of 10 Rutherford engines, including nine on the first stage and one slightly modified on the second. The engine uses liquid oxygen and refined kerosene as its propellants.
Earlier this month, Rocket Lab successfully test fired a reused Rutherford first stage engine for the first time, according to the company, which said this is a “significant technical achievement” as it develops Electron into the “world’s first reusable orbital small rocket.”
The company has several more launches slated for this year, including another attempt at recovering an Electron rocket with a helicopter as it falls back to Earth and the company’s first launch from its new complex in Wallops Island, Virginia.