Rocket Lab will kick off its 17th Electron launch this morning with its “The Owls Night Begins” mission. Currently, liftoff is scheduled to occur at 2:09 a.m. PST/5:09 a.m. ET from Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand.
The purpose of The Owls Night Begins is to launch a synthetic aperture radar (SAR) into orbit for Japanese company Synspective. Called StriX-a, the SAR satellite will be used to measure millimeter-level changes to the Earth’s surface, regardless of the time of day or weather conditions.
During this particular mission, Rocket Lab will utilize a custom expanded fairing to encase Synspective’s wide-body satellite, marking the first time it has been used. Rocket Lab also plans to perform an advanced mid-mission maneuver using its kick stage space tug to shield the StriX-a satellite from the Sun’s radiation exposure before deployment.
Following this launch of the StriX-a satellite, Synspective plans to launch more than 30 more small SAR satellites into orbit to collectively gather a plethora of data. The constellation of satellites will capture data on metropolitan areas all across Asia on a daily basis, being used for things such as urban development and disaster response.
For anyone expecting to see a recovery attempt today, Rocket Lab will not be attempting one with this launch. Rocket Lab has stated that it will not be making another recovery attempt until sometime in 2021 after testing the waters with the previous mission.
Via Rocket Lab