Launches: The Owl Spreads Its Wings
A Rocket Lab Electron booster will fly the third of three missions for Tokyo-based Synspective – a global satellite imaging and monitoring company – at 20:30 UTC today, September 15, 2022. This translates to 8:30 a.m. Friday NZST or 3:30 p.m. today CDT. The launch will fly from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand. The company, continuing its tradition of mission names intended to catch the imagination, is calling this one The Owl Spreads Its Wings.
The Strix-1 satellite is the first craft of what will eventually be a worldwide synthetic radar system able to detect millimeter-sized changes in Earth’s surface. The flight will mark a handful of launch milestones for the small aerospace company.
SpaceX also launching today
Also taking to orbit today, if the weather cooperates, is another batch of Starlink satellites atop a Falcon 9 lift vehicle launching at 01:27 UTC on September 16 (9:27 p.m. EDT on September 15) from Cape Canaveral in Florida. Following a pair of weather delays, this will be a third – hopefully final – attempt to get this mission off the ground this week.
Mission Starlink 4-34 includes 54 more of the company’s communications networking satellites. The large total number of satellites the company intends to launch, along with their relative brightness, have become a cause for advocates of preserving the globe’s dark skies.
Bottom line: Two launches scheduled for today (September 15, 2022) are Rocket Lab Electron and SpaceX Falcon 9. Both are attempting to create globe-spanning satellite networks.