Rocket Lab has signed a deal with Japanese satellite company Synspective to launch a synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellite in late 2020.
Synspective’s StriX-α satellite will be launched on an Electron launch vehicle as a dedicated mission from Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand.
The satellite will be the first in Synspective’s planned StriX constellation of around 25 SAR satellites designed to provide geospatial solutions. SAR satellites actively observe and acquire Earth surface information by transmitting and receiving reflected microwaves.
Compared with optical satellites, which rely on sunlight reflection, SAR can capture images of the ground surface in all weather conditions and at any time of the day or night.
With the StriX constellation, Synspective aims to equip companies, governments, and research organizations with high-quality and user-friendly information data that can be used for urban development planning, construction and infrastructure monitoring, and disaster response.
The StriX-α satellite will be the sole payload on the Electron launch vehicle for this mission, giving Synspective the ability to select the exact orbit, launch site, and launch timing that best suits the company’s needs.
Rocket Lab Founder and Chief Executive, Peter Beck, said the company is delighted to welcome Synspective to Electron the firm is honored to be play such a pivotal role in the development of the StriX constellation. Rocket Lab understands just how important it is to have control over the orbit and the launch schedule when building out a constellation, so the firm is proud to be delivering that capability to Synspective on Electron.
Synspective Founder and CEO, Dr. Motoyuki Arai, added the firm is pleased to work with Rocket Lab, a pioneer in rocket ventures. The company is also grateful for their flexibility in accepting Synspective's requests on the satellite’s orbit and launch period. This year, the company will launch our first satellite as well as our SAR data solutions. With this launch, Synspective is taking a most important step toward establishing the company's one stop service.