The Rocket Lab’s 30th Electron rocket sent a commercial radar satellite into Earth orbit on Thursday (September 15).
The Electron The booster took off from New Zealand’s Rocket Lab site on the North Island’s Mahia peninsula on Thursday at 4:38 p.m. EDT (2038 GMT, or 8:38 a.m. local time on Friday, September 16).
The direct launch of the Strix-1 satellite on behalf of Synspective showed that the missile was flying in the blue sky, with no technical problems reported during the launch. Strix-1 is deployed to its designated orbit, 350 miles (563 kilometers) above Earth, about 53 minutes after liftoff as planned, Rocket Lab said at Update via Twitter (Opens in a new tab).
Thursday’s mission was called “The Owl Spreading Its Wings,” a reference to the Strix-1 payload. (Strix It is a diverse and widespread genus of owls.)
“Strix-1 is Synspective’s first commercial satellite for Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) satellites to deliver images that can detect millimeter-level changes at the Earth’s surface from space, regardless of atmospheric conditions on Earth and at any time of day or night,” officials rocket lab Written in the description of the task (Opens in a new tab).
Rocket Lab officials coined this launch as a landmark mission: It was Rocket Lab’s 30th electron launch, bringing the 150th satellite into space and soaring the 300th Rutherford engine.
The trip also followed the success of Rocket Lab NASA’s CAPSTONE probe launched to the moon. In addition, the company aims to send one or more Searching for life expeditions to Venus in the coming years.
Rocket Lab plans to make Electron’s first stage fully reusable, and has successfully powered a booster that has been recovered (and inadvertently submerged in the ocean) By helicopter on May 2during a mission called “there and back again”.
However, the company made no attempt to recover upon Thursday’s launch, and Electron’s first stage naturally dipped into the brew after the engine was cut off.
Editor’s note: This story was updated at 5:50PM EDT on September 15th with news of a successful satellite deployment.