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Rocket Lab Launches New Satellite for Synspective’s SAR Constellation  

By Rachel Jewett | March 12, 2024

Rocket Lab launches the fourth satellite for Synspective’s constellation on March 13, 2024. Photo: Rocket Lab

Rocket Lab launched the fourth satellite for Japanese synthetic aperture radar (SAR) company Synspective. 

Rocket Lab launched the mission on an Electron rocket from Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand at 4:03 a.m. on March 13 local time, and 11:03 a.m. EDT on March 12. The mission, “Owl Night Long” is a reference to the Synspective satellite series name, StriX, taken from the scientific name of the owl, Strix Uralensis. 

During the mission, Electron’s Kick Stage performed an advanced mid-mission maneuver to shield the StriX satellite from the sun to reduce radiation exposure ahead of payload deployment.

The satellite StriX-3 was deployed to Sun-Synchronous Orbit (SSO) at a 561 km altitude. StriX-3 is the company’s fourth SAR satellite, following StriX-α, StriX-β, and StriX-1, launched in December 2020, March, and September 2022, respectively. Rocket Lab has executed all of the company’s launches. 

StriX-3 is based on the same conceptual design as StriX-1. Synspective built the satellite as part of establishing its production system to produce several satellites concurrently. 

Synspective satellites collect SAR data, which can create 2D and 3D images that produce high-resolution images through night and clouds. It is used for disaster relief including flooding, urban development, construction, and infrastructure monitoring. 

Synspective Founder and CEO Dr. Motoyuki Arai said this launch will allow the company to offer more data services to new and existing customers. The company plans for multiple launches this year. 

“Through this launch, we will advance our understanding of the manufacturing process, enhance our satellite operation know-how, increase the volume of data supply, and strengthen our data analysis capabilities,” Arai said. “To address all sustainable development challenges within our generation, we will push forward our analytics platform business, enabling societal progress through data-driven insights and collective learning.”