Rocket Lab USA successfully launched its 42nd Electron rocket and deployed a satellite for Japan-based Earth imaging company the Institute for Q-shu Pioneers of Space, Inc. (iQPS). The mission was Rocket Lab’s 10th Electron launch for the year, surpassing the Company’s previous annual record of nine launches in 2022. For the fifth year in a row, Electron has retained the title of second most frequently launched US rocket annually.
“It has been a privilege to provide the team at iQPS with a dedicated ride to orbit on an accelerated timeline and we’re honored to play a key role in building out their SAR constellation with Electron.”
The mission, named “The Moon God Awakens”, launched from Pad B at Rocket Lab’s Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand at 17:05 NZDT / 04:05 UTC on December 15th. Named after the Japanese God of the Moon, the iQPS-SAR-5 satellite “TSUKUYOMI-I” is a synthetic-aperture radar (SAR) satellite that will collect high-resolution images of Earth. The satellite joins another iQPS satellite already in orbit and forms part of what will eventually be a 36-satellite constellation capable of monitoring Earth at specific fixed points every 10 minutes.
The mission went from contract signing to successful launch in just eight months, once again demonstrating Rocket Lab’s ability to provide tailored, dedicated launches on rapid timelines.
“Congratulations to our team for hitting a new annual launch record of ten missions, further cementing Electron’s position as the leading small launch vehicle globally. Once again, for the fifth year running, Electron is the second most frequently launched US rocket annually and we look forward to building on that record with an even busier year of launches in 2024,” said Rocket Lab founder and CEO Peter Beck. “It has been a privilege to provide the team at iQPS with a dedicated ride to orbit on an accelerated timeline and we’re honored to play a key role in building out their SAR constellation with Electron.”
Images and video from the launch of ‘The Moon God Awakens’ available for download here: https://flic.kr/s/aHBqjAV8hR
For more information visit: www.rocketlabusa.com