Rocket Lab Launches the Strix-α satellite on the “Owl’s Night Begins” Mission

11th Jan 2021
StriX-a Satellite

Once more, Rocket Lab is at the forefront of yet another successful launch into orbit. The latest project, which brings their total to 17, saw its launch vehicle carry the Strix-α satellite for Japan for the “Owl’s Night Begins” mission. All this took place on 15th December 2020, with lift-off starting at 23:09 local time. 

New Zealand’s Mahia Peninsula played host to this satellite launch from Launch Complex 1A. The mission to send the Strix-α satellite to space comes after a recent announcement by Rocket Lab. 

In the announcement, the company expressed its intent to use its spacecraft designed by its engineers for a NASA expedition. In this operation, Rocket Lab would launch a tiny NASA CAPSTONE aiming at the moon come 2021. 

While the announcement took place on 11th December 2020, preparations for the expedition are underway. 

The 17th Rocket Lab Launch of the Strix-α Satellite

The Owl’s flight undertaking is the latest of several successful satellite launches by Rocket Lab in 2020. So far, the company has utilized its Electron launch vehicle on six missions that went on without a hitch. 

However, Rocket Lab did see one flight of their spacecraft result in failure. However, the issue was corrected with immediate effect, and the company resumed its launch sequence with the 14th launch. It wasted no time to get the FAA (Federal Aviation Authority) certification to continue its operations after fixing the problem in a record 27 days. 

Though the company launches its space crafts from the Mahia Peninsula, it gets authorization from the FAA. It’s because Rocket Lab is a US-based company and must abide by all US laws.

Moreover, the latest “Owl’s Night Begins” mission to launch. The Strix-α satellite is proof that the future is bright for this company. After the 16th mission, the 17th flight had differences in operations, like failing to conduct a space recovery for its first stage. 

Rocket Lab opted to utilize data from the previous 16th mission. However, this mission had its improvements, which is worth noting. The payload for this expedition had a far bigger fairing, different from previous ones. 

Still, it’s worth noting that these larger fairings are not what Rocket Lab uses for its missions and needed integration. The goal was to deliver the Strix-α satellite to orbit safely on this “Owl’s Night Begins” mission. 

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