Rocket Lab Prepares to Launch iQPS Mission

Rocket Lab’s 42nd Electron mission will deliver an Earth observation satellite to orbit for Japanese company iQPS

Mahia, New Zealand. December 14, 2023 – Rocket Lab USA, Inc. (Nasdaq: RKLB) (“Rocket Lab” or “the Company”), a global leader in launch services and space systems, is preparing to launch its 42nd Electron mission no earlier than December 15, 2023, between 17:00 – 19:00 NZDT / 04:00 – 06:00 UTC.

The mission, named “The Moon God Awakens,” will lift off from Pad B at Rocket Lab’s Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand carrying a single satellite for Japan-based Earth imaging company the Institute for Q-shu Pioneers of Space, Inc. (iQPS).

Named after the Japanese God of the Moon, the QPS-SAR-5 satellite “TSUKUYOMI-I” is a synthetic-aperture radar (SAR) satellite that will collect high-resolution images of Earth. The satellite will join another iQPS satellite in orbit to ultimately form a 36-satellite constellation capable of monitoring Earth at specific fixed points every 10 minutes.

“We’re delighted to be providing iQPS with a dedicated ride to orbit, enabling them to tailor the orbit, launch timing and integration process to meet specific mission requirements,” said Rocket Lab founder and CEO Peter Beck.

iQPS CEO Dr. Shunsuke Onishi commented: "We are deeply grateful to the Rocket Lab team for their efforts in arranging the launch opportunity that aligns perfectly with our desired orbit. Additionally, we take great pride in our team, working tirelessly day by day to accommodate this tight timeline.”

In addition to being launched by Electron, the QPS-SAR-5 satellite will use Rocket Lab’s Mark II Motorized Lightband (MLB) as its separation system, demonstrating the Company’s vertically integrated space systems strategy.

“The Moon God Awakens” is Rocket Lab’s 10th Electron mission this year, besting the Company’s previous record of nine launches in 2022.

A live broadcast of the launch will be available via YouTube from approximately T-20 minutes. Follow Rocket Lab on X for real time updates on launch day.


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