The deployment of the QPS-SAR-5 satellite will enhance iQPS’s Earth imaging capabilities.

In a significant development in the realm of space launches and Earth observation, Rocket Lab USA, Inc. (NASDAQ: RKLB), a global leader in launch services, is gearing up for its 42nd Electron mission. Scheduled no earlier than December 15, 2023, between 17:00 – 19:00, the mission, aptly named “The Moon God Awakens,” is set to lift off from Pad B at Rocket Lab’s Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand. This mission holds special significance as it will be carrying a single satellite for the Japan-based Earth imaging company, the Institute for Q-shu Pioneers of Space, Inc. (iQPS).

The satellite, named QPS-SAR-5 and referred to as “TSUKUYOMI-I,” is a synthetic-aperture radar (SAR) satellite. SAR technology, renowned for its ability to produce high-resolution images of Earth under various conditions, is a critical tool in Earth observation. TSUKUYOMI-I, named after the Japanese God of the Moon, will enhance iQPS’s capabilities in global monitoring. This satellite is a step towards forming a robust 36-satellite constellation, envisioned to enable monitoring of Earth at specific fixed points every 10 minutes, a feat aligning with the latest trends in satellite technology.

Rocket Lab founder and CEO Peter Beck expressed his company’s enthusiasm: “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.” This statement underscores Rocket Lab’s commitment to client-specific needs and the versatility of their launch services.

On the other side, iQPS CEO Dr. Shunsuke Onishi conveyed deep gratitude towards Rocket Lab for the bespoke launch opportunity, which perfectly aligns with their desired orbit. He also praised his team’s relentless effort in meeting the tight timelines of this mission.

A notable aspect of this launch is the use of Rocket Lab’s Mark II Motorized Lightband (MLB) as the satellite’s separation system, showcasing the company’s expertise in vertically integrated space systems. This technology reflects Rocket Lab’s innovative approach in streamlining satellite deployments.

“The Moon God Awakens” marks a new record for Rocket Lab, being their 10th Electron mission this year and surpassing the company’s previous record of nine launches in 2022. This achievement highlights Rocket Lab’s growing capabilities and efficiency in the rapidly evolving space industry.

In addition to the technical aspects of the mission, the company has announced that a live broadcast of the launch will be available on YouTube, starting approximately 20 minutes before liftoff. This offers space enthusiasts and industry professionals alike an opportunity to witness the event in real-time. Rocket Lab also encourages following them on their social media platforms for up-to-the-minute updates on the day of the launch.

[14 Dec 2023] Rocket Lab Sets Launch Date for iQPS’s ‘The Moon God Awakens’ Mission
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