Rocket Lab has stepped in to provide iQPS with an expedited dedicated launch on Electron
LONG BEACH, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Rocket Lab USA, Inc. (Nasdaq: RKLB) (“Rocket Lab” or “the Company”), a global leader in launch services and space systems, today announced it has 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. iQPS was originally manifested on another launch vehicle, but iQPS has now selected Rocket Lab to launch QPS-SAR-5 on a dedicated Electron mission to expedite the deployment.
The launch is scheduled for lift-off in September 2023 and will carry iQPS’s QPS-SAR-5 satellite named “TSUKUYOMI-I” into orbit on a dedicated Electron mission from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 in Mahia, New Zealand. The mission has been named “The Moon God Awakens” in acknowledgement of Tsukuyomi, the Japanese God of the Moon.
“This is exactly the kind of mission Electron was designed for and has delivered on time and time again – a customer urgently seeking dedicated launch to a unique orbit on a rapid timeline. We’re delighted to deliver that capability to our new partners at iQPS and keep their mission on schedule,” said Rocket Lab founder and CEO Peter Beck. “iQPS’ SAR technology can play a vital role in disaster prevention, marine monitoring, infrastructure management, agriculture, and more. The sooner their spacecraft is in orbit, the faster those capabilities can be delivered, so we’re grateful for the opportunity to make iQPS’ mission possible with a dependable launch service.”
iQPS CEO Dr. Shunsuke Onishi commented, "We are very pleased to announce the new launch plan for QPS-SAR-5 following the successful QPS-SAR-6 launch in June, despite the delay due to status changes since our announcement of contract for QPS-SAR-5 in May last year. We highly appreciate Rocket Lab and our team for all their efforts in arranging this new launch contract as it is very meaningful 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. 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 (SAR) satellite that will join a constellation after QPS-SAR-6 already in orbit. iQPS’s satellites are small, high-performance SAR satellites that use a lightweight, large, stowable antenna to collect high resolution images of Earth, even through clouds and adverse weather conditions. Ultimately, the iQPS constellation is planned to have 36 satellites capable of monitoring specific fixed points on Earth every 10 minutes.
In addition to being launched by Electron, 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.
+ About Rocket Lab
Founded in 2006, Rocket Lab is an end-to-end space company with an established track record of mission success. We deliver reliable launch services, satellite manufacture, spacecraft components, and on-orbit management solutions that make it faster, easier and more affordable to access space. Headquartered in Long Beach, California, Rocket Lab designs and manufactures the Electron small orbital launch vehicle, the Photon satellite platform and the Company is developing the large Neutron launch vehicle for constellation deployment. Since its first orbital launch in January 2018, Rocket Lab’s Electron launch vehicle has become the second most frequently launched U.S. rocket annually and has delivered 170 satellites to orbit for private and public sector organizations, enabling operations in national security, scientific research, space debris mitigation, Earth observation, climate monitoring, and communications. Rocket Lab’s Photon spacecraft platform has been selected to support NASA missions to the Moon and Mars, as well as the first private commercial mission to Venus. Rocket Lab has three launch pads at two launch sites, including two launch pads at a private orbital launch site located in New Zealand and a third launch pad in Virginia. To learn more, visit www.rocketlabusa.com.
+ About iQPS
iQPS is a space start-up founded in 2005 by two Emeritus Professors of Kyushu University and a rocket developer to establish the space industry in the Kyushu region in Japan. Based on more than 20 years of technology in the development of small satellites at Kyushu University, now iQPS brings together young engineers and industrialists with a team of pioneering professors emeritus. In addition, iQPS's business is strongly supported by more than 25 partner companies, mostly in northern Kyushu. The goal of iQPS small SAR satellite QPS-SAR project is to deliver a near real-time data provision service. Today, three QPS-SARs have been launched and are in operation: QPS-SAR- 1 "IZANAGI", 2 "IZANAMI" and 6 “AMATERU-Ⅲ”. In July 2023, iQPS released Spotlight images of QPS-SAR-6 with azimuth resolution of 46cm and range resolution of 39 cm, which is the highest resolution ever achieved by a Japanese commercial SAR satellite. Unfortunately, QPS-SAR-3 and 4 have not been deployed into orbit due to rocket failure. For further information please check: www.i-qps.net
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