Space

Launches: The Owl Spreads Its Wings on September 14

The Owl Spreads Its Wings: Long, tight, white and red rocket with flames underneath.
This image shows Rocket Lab’s February 28, 2022, launch of a mission called The Owl’s Night Continues. It launched from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand. The company’s coming mission is called The Owl Spreads Its Wings. It’s due to lift off on September 14, 2022, also from the New Zealand launch site. Image via Rocket Labs.

The Owl Spreads Its Wings September 14

The folks at Rocket Lab continue to get creative with naming missions, calling their upcoming launch The Owl Spreads Its Wings. It’s a mission on behalf of the synthetic aperture radar company Synspective, headquartered in Tokyo. The mission will launch a StriX-1 satellite, which will ride to orbit atop Rocket Lab’s Electron booster. It’s scheduled to lift off at 8:30 a.m. NZDT from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand on Thursday, September 15 (20:30 UTC on Wednesday, September 14).

According to the company’s website, Rocket Lab will hit several high points with this flight:

The mission for Synspective will mark a series of company milestones for Rocket Lab: Its 30th Electron launch, its 300th Rutherford engine, and the single StriX-1 satellite manifested on this Electron launch will bring Rocket Lab’s tally of satellites delivered to orbit to 150.

Go, Rocket Lab!

The Strix-1 satellite is Synspective’s first in a constellation of satellites that will make up a synthetic aperture radar. The system will be able to detect millimeter-sized changes in Earth’s surface. The company originally intended to orbit the satellite on a Russian Soyuz flight that was cancelled, due to the ongoing Russian-Ukrainian War.

Rocket Lab has been busy

Nearly 40 of the 150 satellites Rocket Lab has flown were launched in the last 90 days. One of these was NASA’s CAPSTONE lunar probe. Another was a space junk removal test during Rocket Lab’s mission called There and Back Again.

That mission was also notable because its first-stage booster was dare-devilishly snatched midair by a helicopter as it returned to Earth. There’s more about this feat in the video below:

Attention-getting mission names

The Owl Spreads Its Wings will be Rocket Lab’s third launch for Synspective, following The Owl’s Night Begins in December 2020 and The Owl’s Night Continues in February 2022.

Other attention-getting mission names from the company include Running Out of Fingers in 2019, Another One Leaves the Crust and They Go Up So Fast in 2021.

And there was also Without Mission a Beat in April of this year.

Bottom line: Rocket Lab’s next launch – for the The Owl Spreads Its Wings mission on September 14, 2022 – will mark several milestones for the aerospace company.

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