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

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. 

‘The Owl’s Night Begins’ launched from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 on New Zealand’s Māhia Peninsula at 10:09 UTC, 15 December 2020 and successfully deployed Synspective’s StriX-α to a 500km circular orbit. The mission brings the total number of payloads deployed by Rocket Lab to 96. 

The StriX-α satellite will demonstrate synthetic aperture radar (SAR) technology developed by Synspective to be able to image millimetre-level changes to the Earth’s surface from space, independent of weather conditions on Earth and at any time of the day or night. StriX-α is the first of more than thirty satellites planned by Synspective to form a constellation in low Earth orbit to collate data on a daily basis that can be used for urban development planning, construction and infrastructure monitoring, and disaster response across Asia. 

Rocket Lab founder and CEO, Peter Beck, says: “Congratulations to the team at Synspective for the successful deployment of their first satellite. We’re proud to be able to continue to provide dedicated launch opportunities for small satellite customers like Synspective. Electron provides truly tailored access to space, enabling our customers to choose exactly when they launch and under their specific mission parameters.” 

Synspective founder and CEO, Dr Motoyuki Arai, says: "Thanks to the efforts and hard work of both the Rocket Lab and Synspective teams we were able to achieve a successful launch as scheduled, despite the difficult environment of COVID-19. With the launch of StriX-α, Synspective will be able to demonstrate its satellite capabilities and data processing technology. This is the first step towards our constellation of 30 satellites and along with the development of our solutions, a full-scale business expansion will begin. Starting with this success, we will move tangibly closer towards the attainment of an advanced world, expanding people's understanding and learning capabilities with new data and technologies." 

Details about Rocket Lab’s 18th Electron launch will be announced shortly, with the next mission scheduled to take place from Launch Complex 1 early in the new year.