Another satellite is orbiting Earth following a successful mission by the Long Beach-based rocket manufacturer and launch service provider Rocket Lab, the firm announced today.
Dubbed “The Owl’s Night Continues,” the mission blasted off at 12:37 p.m. local time. Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket carried and successfully delivered a synthetic aperture radar (SAR) StriX satellite for Japanese Earth imaging company Synspective.
The satellite is one piece of Synspective’s plans for a 30-satellite constellation designed to detect millimeter-level changes to the Earth’s surface from space, regardless of weather conditions and time of day.
“We are proud to continue our partnership with Synspective and to have provided flexibility around launch timing,” Rocket Lab founder and CEO Peter Beck said in the announcement, referring to the fact that the launch was originally scheduled for a later date but was moved up on the manifest to accommodate Synspective’s needs.
“We look forward to our upcoming missions with Synspective as they grow their SAR constellation,” Beck added.
Today’s mission was a follow-up to “The Owl’s Night Begins” in December 2020, during which Rocket Lab delivered one StriX satellite for Synspective. Following that mission’s success, the firm inked a three-launch deal, which included today’s mission.
A second launch is slated for this year, with the third planned for 2023.
“With the successful insertion of our second SAR satellite, we will be able to improve our technology for operating multiple satellites and strengthen our data services,” Synspective founder and CEO Motoyuki Arai said in the announcement. “With this achievement, we will accelerate the expansion of a thirty SAR satellite constellation and enhance our data analysis technology to realize a ‘learning world’ for a sustainable future.”
“The Owl’s Night Continues” was Rocket Lab’s 24th Electron launch—the first of 2022—and its payload marks the 110th satellite the firm has put into orbit.
The mission departed from the Rocket Lab’s Launch Complex 1, Pad B, facility on New Zealand’s Mahia Peninsula. This is the first time the firm utilized the pad.
Moving forward, the ability to use two pads at its New Zealand complex will eliminate recycle time between missions, giving Rocket Lab the ability to increase launch frequency and responsiveness, the firm stated.
Rocket Lab had six launches last year, one of which failed. Details for the firm’s next mission are expected to be announced soon, according to today’s announcement.