LifestyleExciting Launch: Rocket Lab to Send Radar-Imaging Satellite into Orbit on March...

Exciting Launch: Rocket Lab to Send Radar-Imaging Satellite into Orbit on March 12

Rocket Lab successfully launched a radar-imaging satellite today to expand its constellation in space. The Electron rocket carried a Strix-3 satellite from Synspective, a Japanese company, from Rocket Lab’s New Zealand launch site. This launch occurred at 11:03 a.m. EDT, within a one-hour window of opportunity.

During a live broadcast on YouTube, a Rocket Lab official confirmed the satellite’s successful journey to space. After the first-stage separation, the broadcaster exclaimed, “Done, done and done.”

Rocket Lab’s mission, named “Owl Night Long,” highlights Synspective’s Strix family of synthetic-aperture radar (SAR) satellites. These satellites can capture small changes in the Earth’s surface from space, regardless of weather conditions, at any time of day or night.

This launch marks Rocket Lab’s fourth mission for Synspective. Strix-3 is set to reach a sun-synchronous orbit (SSO) approximately 348.6 miles above Earth. Satellites in SSOs observe the same area of Earth at the same solar time daily, ensuring consistent lighting conditions for detecting surface changes easily.

If the mission proceeds as planned, Strix-3 will be deployed into its orbit about 54 minutes after liftoff. Rocket Lab is striving to make the Electron’s first stage reusable, although there is no mention of recovery activities in this mission description.

The article was updated to note a 40-minute launch delay and the subsequent successful launch. For further discussions on space, missions, and celestial events, join our Space Forums. Stay tuned for breaking space news and updates on rocket launches and skywatching events. Michael Wall, a Senior Space Writer at Space.com, covers exoplanets, spaceflight, and military space topics, with occasional forays into space art.

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