SpaceX Rockets U.S. Launches to New Heights in 2022

Falcon 9 launches 53 Starlink satellites on June 17, 2022. (Credit: SpaceX)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Powered by 33 flights of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 booster, the United States leads all nations with 48 launch attempts through the first seven months of the year. The total is three short of the number of U.S. launches attempted last year, and far ahead of the 27 launches conducted by second place China through the end of July. The U.S. has conducted more launches than the 43 flights conducted by the rest of the world combined.

A number of notable flights were conducted. SpaceX launched two Crew Dragons to the International Space Station (ISS), including the first fully privately funded mission to the orbiting laboratory. United Launch Alliance (ULA) launched Boeing’s CST-100 Starship crew vehicle on an automated flight test to ISS, a crucial step before astronauts to fly on the spacecraft. Small satellite launch provider Rocket Lab conducted its first deep-space mission by sending a spacecraft the size of a microwave to the moon.

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Rocket Lab Reports Increased Revenue From Space Systems, $26.7 Million First Quarter Net Loss

Electron launches on May 3, 2022. (Credit: Rocket Lab)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Rocket Lab reported a $26.7 million first quarter loss on revenues of $40.7 million, with space systems such as satellites producing the majority of revenues rather than the launches for which the company is best known. Adjusted EBITDA loss for the quarter was $7.98 million.

Rocket Lab earned $34.1 million in revenues from space systems. That amount represented 84% of first quarter revenues, an increase of 1,873 percent from the first quarter of 2021.

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Japanese Space Industry Startup “Synspective” Raises US $100 Million in Funding

Synthetic aperture radar satellite (Credit: Synspective)

TOKYO, 29 March 2022 (Synspective PR) – Synspective Inc., a SAR satellite data and solutions provider, announced that the company has raised US $100M (11.9 billion yen) including a Series B funding round. The latest funding was led by Sompo Japan Insurance Inc. (Tokyo, Japan), Nomura SPARX Investment, Inc. (Tokyo, Japan), and Pavilion Capital Pte. Ltd. (Singapore) among others, as well as bank loans, and it is supposed to be ranked within the top ten largest startups in Japan. This puts our total funding value at US $200M (22.8 billion yen) since our founding.

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Rocket Lab Successfully Launches Second Mission for Synspective, Deploys 110th Satellite to Orbit

Electron lifts off on Feb. 28, 2021. (Credit: Rocket Lab)

MAHIA, New Zealand, March 1, 2022 (Rocket Lab PR) – Rocket Lab USA, Inc (Nasdaq: RKLB), a leading launch and space systems company, has successfully deployed a second Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) satellite to orbit for data and solutions provider Synspective, bringing the total number of satellites deployed by Rocket Lab to 110. ‘The Owl’s Night Continues” mission is Rocket Lab’s 24th Electron launch.

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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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Rocket Lab to Launch Three Dedicated Electron Missions for Earth Imaging Company Synspective

Electron launches from New Zealand on Nov. 18, 2021. (Credit: Rocket Lab)

The missions follow on from the launch of Synspective’s first satellite, StriX-α, by Rocket Lab in 2020

LONG BEACH, Calif., December 7, 2021 (Rocket Lab PR) – Rocket Lab USA, Inc. (“Rocket Lab” or the “Company”) (Nasdaq: RKLB), a leading launch provider and space systems company, has today announced it has signed a deal with Japanese Earth imaging company Synspective to carry out three dedicated Electron launches.

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Japanese Satellite Company Synspective Signs Launch Agreement with Germany’s Exolaunch to Launch the third SAR Satellite StriX-1 on Soyuz-2

Synthetic aperture radar satellite (Credit: Synspective)

TOKYO and BERLIN (Exolaunch PR) – Synspective Inc., a SAR satellite data and analytic solution provider, announced a new Launch Agreement with a small satellite launch services provider, Exolaunch, to launch Synspective’s third demonstration SAR satellite “StriX-1” on a Soyuz-2 launch vehicle in mid-2022. The companies extended their collaboration after signing a launch agreement for the second Synspective’s demonstration SAR satellite “StriX-beta”, which is currently under the final preparations for launch later this year. 

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JAXA and Synspective Launch Demonstration of Small SAR Satellite Constellation Technology for Disaster Situation Monitoring Services

Figure 1: purpose of the project and assignment. (Credit: JAXA)

TOKYO (JAXA PR) — Synspective Inc., (Head Office: Koto Ward, Tokyo, CEO: Dr. Motoyuki Arai) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) (Headquarters Office: Chofu City, Tokyo; President: Hiroshi Yamakawa, hereinafter referred to as “JAXA”) have started co-creation activities under the “JAXA Space Innovation through Partnership and Co-creation (J-SPARC)” for the “Social Implementation of Disaster Situation Monitoring Services Using a Small SAR (Synthetic Aperture Radar) Satellite Constellation.” In this program, we will demonstrate the improvement of analysis accuracy by using SAR constellation to analyze Saga torrential rain as a case study, and demonstrate the improvement of SAR onboard satellite performance.

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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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Japan’s ImPACT Program Creates Compact, Lightweight Technology for Compact Synthetic Aperture Radar Satellites

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

TOKYO (JAXA PR) — It has been said that it is difficult to reduce the size and weight of satellite-mounted synthetic aperture radar (SAR) technology, which has been a major technical issue.

At JAXA, based on the SAR technology accumulated in the Earth observation projects so far, the results started from the basic research on the miniaturization and weight reduction of this technology are summarized. 

We have raised the level of technology to practical application in collaboration with Synspective, the Tokyo Institute of Technology Hirokawa Laboratory, Keio University Shirasaka Laboratory and the University of Tokyo Nakasuka/Funase Laboratory.

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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 Space Industry Start-up Synspective

Electron rocket lifts off on Jan. 31, 2020. (Credit: Rocket Lab)

Long Beach, California. 14 April 2020 (Rocket Lab PR) – Rocket Lab, a space technology company and global leader in dedicated small satellite launch, has signed a deal with Japanese satellite company Synspective to launch a synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellite in late 2020.

Synspective’s  StriX-α satellite will be launched on an Electron launch vehicle as a dedicated mission from Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand.

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Japanese SAR Satellite Startup Synspective Raises US $100 Million

Synthetic aperture radar satellite. (Credit: Synspective)

TOKYO (Synspective PR) — Synspective Inc.,is a Japanese startup which provides satellite data solutions using small sized SAR (Synthetic Aperture Radar) satellites.

The company accumulated $100 million USD in funding since its foundation in February 2018. Raising that amount in less than 17 months makes Synspective the world’s fastest and Japan’s second highest funded space startup. The investment will help strengthen the company’s SAR satellite development, manufacturing systems, and solutions development.

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