Update: Successful launch and payload deployment per Rocket Lab.
For its first launch of 2022, Rocket Lab is sending to orbit a StriX satellite for Japanese company Synspective via an Electron rocket this afternoon, and you can watch it take off right here. The mission, named “The Owl’s Night Continues,” will also be the first launch from the company’s newly built Pad B at its New Zealand complex.
The mission marks Rocket Lab’s second for Synspective; the first, “The Owl’s Night Begins,” successfully deployed a StriX satellite in December of 2020. These satellites, named after the Strix genus of owl, are part of Synspective’s planned constellation of 30-plus synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellites that will observe minute changes on the Earth’s surface for urban development, infrastructure monitoring and disaster response. Following today’s mission, Rocket Lab will launch two more StriX satellites for Synspective, one more in 2022 and another in 2023.
“The Owl’s Night Continues” will launch from Rocket Lab’s Launch Complex 1 on New Zealand’s remote Mahia Peninsula via the recently completed Pad B. With the debut of the new pad — which joins Rocket Lab’s Pad A at the same facility and a yet-unused pad at Launch Complex 2 at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport (MARS) on Wallops Island, Virginia — Rocket Lab hopes to increase its launch cadence.
Today’s launch will mark the 24th of an Electron rocket, and though its boosters have been recovered before, the company will not seek to retrieve this one during this mission. “We’re continuing to test systems associated w/ recovery, including enhanced batteries to boost performance of the 2nd stage to offset any mass gains associated with 1st stage recovery systems,” wrote Rocket Lab in a tweet.
“The Owl’s Night Continues” is scheduled for lift-off today at 20:37 UTC (3:37 PM EST), with a webcast on RocketLab’s YouTube channel starting approximately 20 minutes prior. Should the launch be called off today, the window remains open for the next two weeks. You can watch the livestream below: