Rocket Lab Brings Forward Launch for Earth Imaging Company Synspective

Electron launches from New Zealand on Dec. 9, 2021. (Credit: Rocket Lab)

The mission is the first of three upcoming dedicated Electron launches for Synspective and demonstrates Rocket Lab’s flexible and responsive launch capability

LONG BEACH, Calif. (Rocket Lab PR) — Rocket Lab USA, Inc. (Nasdaq: RKLB) (“Rocket Lab” or “the Company”), a globa leader in launch services and space systems, today announced the launch window for a dedicated Electron mission for Japanese Earth imaging company Synspective. The 14-day launch window opens February 28th UTC and will lift-off from Rocket Lab’s Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand. Originally slated to launch after Rocket Lab’s next mission for another customer, Rocket Lab has brought the Synspective mission forward in the manifest to accommodate shifts in customer timelines.

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Launch 2020: U.S. Reclaimed Top Spot, Flew Astronauts Again from American Soil

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft is launched from Launch Complex 39A on NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 mission to the International Space Station with NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley aboard, Saturday, May 30, 2020, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida (Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls & Joel Kowsky)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

The United States reclaimed the top spot in launches from China last year as NASA astronauts flew into orbit from American soil for the first time in nearly nine years, SpaceX deployed the world’s first satellite mega-constellation with reused rockets, and two new launchers debuted with less than stellar results.

American companies conducted 44 launches in 2020, with 40 successes and four failures. Bryce Tech reports that U.S. companies accounted for 32 of the 41 commercial launches conducted last year. The majority of those flights were conducted by SpaceX, which launched 25 orbital missions.

China came in second with a record of 35 successful launches and four failures. The 39 launch attempts tied that nation’s previous record for flights during a calendar year.

Let’s take a closer look at what U.S. companies achieved last year.

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Synspective Signs Launch Agreement with Germany’s Exolaunch to Launch the Second SAR Satellite “StriX-β” on Soyuz-2

Synthetic aperture radar satellite (Credit: Synspective)

TOKYO, Japan and BERLIN, Germany, March 23, 2021 (Synspective PR)  — Synspective Inc., a SAR satellite data and analytic solution provider, announced a Launch Agreement with the German launch services provider, Exolaunch, to launch the second demonstration satellite “StriX-β” on a Soyuz-2  launch vehicle from Vostochny Cosmodrome in Russia in late 2021.    

StriX-β is the second demonstration satellite following Strix-α. It is aimed to demonstrate “InSAR (Interferometric SAR)” technology in orbit, a special SAR analytics technique to detect millimeter-level displacements on the ground surface.

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Synspective Released the First Image from Small SAR Satellite StriX-α

StriX-α synthetic aperture radar image of South Florida on February 8th, 2021 around 12:00 (Japan time). (Credit: Synspective)

TOKYO (Synspective PR) – Synspective Inc., a SAR satellite data and analytic- solution provider, announced its first success on the first image acquisition from its first own SAR satellite StriX-α. This is the first success in Japan that a commercial SAR satellite (100 kg class) image has obtained from space.

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Rocket Lab Successfully Launches 17th Electron Mission, Deploys SAR Satellite for Synspective

An Electron rocket lifts off with the StriX-α satellite. (Credit: Rocket Lab)

MAHIA PENINSULA, New Zealand (Rocket Lab PR) — Rocket Lab, the leading dedicated small launch provider and space systems company, has successfully launched its 17th Electron mission, deploying the first spacecraft to orbit for synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellite data and solutions provider Synspective. 

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Launch Updates: SpaceX, Virgin Galactic & Rocket Lab Shift Dates

SpaceShipTwo VSS Unity makes first glide flight at Spaceport America in New Mexico. (Credit: Virgin Galactic)

SpaceX scrubbed the launch of the SXM-7 for SiriusXM satellite radio on Friday morning. The countdown for the Falcon 9 rocket was held at T-30 seconds.

“Standing down from today’s launch attempt to perform additional ground system checkouts; teams are working toward no earlier than Sunday, December 13 for next launch attempt of SXM-7,” SpaceX tweeted.

The window for Virgin Galactic’s first suborbital flight of SpaceShipTwo from Spaceport America in New Mexico opened on Friday. However, the company did not conduct a flight with scientific experiments.

“Good morning from NM. Vehicles and flight crew are ready. Flight window is now open. We will fly no earlier than Saturday. We have range clearance through the weekend and can extend into next week if necessary. Evaluating high-level winds and turbulence. Stay tuned for updates,” Virgin Galactic tweeted.

Rocket Lab has delayed its launch of the StriX-α synthetic aperture radar satellite from New Zealand by a day to Tuesday, Dec. 15 for a rather unusual reason.

“To avoid a solar eclipse that could affect Synspective’s mission, we’re now targeting Dec 15 for launch,” the company tweeted. “When customers request a new T-0, we’re happy to oblige. That’s the beauty of dedicated launch on Electron, our customers get to choose (and change!) their launch time.”

The target lift-off time for the The Owl’s Night Begins mission on Dec. 15 is:

UTC: 09:00-10:59
NZT: 22:00-23:59
JST: 18:00-19:59
PST: 01:00-02:59
EST: 04:00-05:59.

Rocket Lab to Launch Dedicated Mission for Japanese Earth Imaging Company Synspective

Electron launches with 10 satellites on Oct. 29, 2020. (Credit: Rocket Lab webcast)

LONG BEACH, Calif. (Rocket Lab PR) – Rocket Lab, a space technology company and global leader in dedicated small satellite launch, has today announced Japanese Earth-imaging company Synspective as the customer for Rocket Lab’s 17th Electron launch, and its seventh mission of the year.

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