Ibadan, 22 August 2023. – Rocket Lab USA, Inc. has announced that it signed a deal to launch an Earth observation satellite on Electron for the Institute for Q-shu Pioneers of Space, Inc. (iQPS), a Japan-based Earth imaging company.
The mission will tentatively lift off in September 2023 and will carry iQPS’s QPS-SAR-5 satellite “TSUKUYOMI-I” into orbit. Furthermore, it will be a dedicated Electron mission and launch from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 in Mahia, New Zealand. iQPS named the mission “The Moon God Awakens” in acknowledgement of Tsukuyomi, the Japanese God of the Moon.
Despite initially selecting another launch vehicle, iQPS concluded and selected Rocket Lab to launch QPS-SAR-5 on a dedicated Electron mission to expedite the deployment. Furthermore, the QPS-SAR-5 satellite will use Rocket Lab’s Mark II Motorized Lightband (MLB) as its separation system, demonstrating the Company’s vertically integrated space systems strategy.
iQPS CEO Dr. Shunsuke Onishi commented, “We are very happy to announce the new launch plan for QPS-SAR-5 following the successful QPS-SAR-6 launch in June. We highly appreciate Rocket Lab and our team for all their efforts in arranging this new launch contract, as it is significant for us to quickly deploy the satellites into orbit and build a 36-QPS-SAR constellation that will enable near real-time observation almost anywhere in the world, which we are aiming for.” The CEO also added, “We believe that this collaboration with Rocket Lab for QPS-SAR-5 will evolve our SAR image data services and expand our business.”
QPS-SAR-5 is a synthetic-aperture radar satellite joining a constellation after QPS-SAR-6 is already in orbit. Ultimately, the iQPS constellation will have 36 satellites capable of monitoring specific fixed points on Earth every 10 minutes.