Press Release

Rocket Lab Successfully Launches 17th Electron Mission, Deploys SAR Satellite for Synspective

By SpaceRef Editor
December 15, 2020
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Rocket Lab, the leading dedicated small launch provider and space systems company, has successfully launched its 17th Electron mission, deploying the first spacecraft to orbit for synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellite data and solutions provider Synspective. 


‘The Owl’s Night Begins’ launched from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 on New Zealand’s Māhia Peninsula at 10:09 UTC, 15 December 2020 and successfully deployed Synspective’s StriX-α to a 500km circular orbit. The mission brings the total number of payloads deployed by Rocket Lab to 96. 


The StriXα satellite will demonstrate synthetic aperture radar (SAR) technology developed by Synspective to be able to image millimetre-level changes to the Earth’s surface from space, independent of weather conditions on Earth and at any time of the day or night. StriXα is the first of more than thirty satellites planned by Synspective to form a constellation in low Earth orbit to collate data on a daily basis that can be used for urban development planning, construction and infrastructure monitoring, and disaster response across Asia. 


Rocket Lab founder and CEO, Peter Beck, says: “Congratulations to the team at Synspective for the successful deployment of their first satellite. We’re proud to be able to continue to provide dedicated launch opportunities for small satellite customers like Synspective. Electron provides truly tailored access to space, enabling our customers to choose exactly when they launch and under their specific mission parameters.” 


Synspective founder and CEO, Dr Motoyuki Arai, says: “Thanks to the efforts and hard work of both the Rocket Lab and Synspective teams we were able to achieve a successful launch as scheduled, despite the difficult environment of COVID-19. With the launch of StriX-α, Synspective will be able to demonstrate its satellite capabilities and data processing technology. This is the first step towards our constellation of 30 satellites and along with the development of our solutions, a full-scale business expansion will begin. Starting with this success, we will move tangibly closer towards the attainment of an advanced world, expanding people’s understanding and learning capabilities with new data and technologies.” 


Details about Rocket Lab’s 18th Electron launch will be announced shortly, with the next mission scheduled to take place from Launch Complex 1 early in the new year. 



Rocket Lab Media Contact: 

Murielle Baker 

(+64) 21 027 56461 | 


Images from the mission are available in the media library at  


About Rocket Lab: 

Rocket Lab is the world’s leading dedicated small satellite launch provider. Founded in 2006, Rocket Lab provides end-to-end mission services, including complete satellite build and launch solutions, that provide rapid, frequent and reliable access to space. Since its first orbital launch in January 2018, Rocket Lab has delivered 96 satellites to orbit on the Electron launch vehicle, enabling operations in space debris mitigation, Earth observation, ship and airplane tracking, and radio communications. Headquartered in Long Beach, California, Rocket Lab designs and manufactures the Electron launch vehicle and Photon satellite platform. Electron is a full carbon-composite launch vehicle tailored for small satellites. Photon is a complete spacecraft bus solution that can be tailored for a range of missions. Together Electron and Photon offer an all-inclusive spacecraft build and launch service for Rocket Lab customers. Rocket Lab operates launch sites in Māhia, New Zealand and Wallops Island, Virginia. To learn more, visit   

SpaceRef staff editor.