Lagos, 19 October 2023. – Rocket Lab USA, Inc. has successfully launched its 42nd Electron rocket and deployed a satellite for Japan-based Earth imaging company the Institute for Q-shu Pioneers of Space, Inc. (iQPS). The mission was Rocket Lab’s 10th Electron launch for the year, surpassing the Company’s previous annual record of nine launches in 2022. As a result, Electron retains the title of the second most frequently launched U.S. rocket annually for the fifth year in a row.
The mission, named “The Moon God Awakens”, launched from Rocket Lab’s Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand on December 15th. Named after the Japanese God of the Moon, the iQPS-SAR-5 satellite “TSUKUYOMI-I” is a synthetic-aperture radar (SAR) satellite that will collect high-resolution images of Earth. The satellite joins another iQPS satellite already in orbit and forms part of what will eventually be a 36-satellite EO constellation.
Speaking on the feat, Rocket Lab founder and CEO Peter Beck said, “Congratulations to our team for hitting a new annual launch record of ten missions, further cementing Electron’s position as the leading small launch vehicle globally. Once again, for the fifth year running, Electron is the second most frequently launched U.S. rocket annually, and we look forward to building on that record with an even busier year of launches in 2024.”
He also added, “It has been a privilege to provide the team at iQPS with a dedicated ride to orbit on an accelerated timeline, and we have the honor to play a key role in building out their SAR constellation with Electron.” The mission went from contract signing to successful launch in just eight months, once again demonstrating Rocket Lab’s ability to provide tailored, dedicated launches on rapid timelines.