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Rocket Lab Reaches New Annual Launch Record with 10th Electron Mission This Year

The mission successfully deployed a satellite for Japan-based Earth imaging company Institute for Q-shu Pioneers of Space, Inc

Rocket Lab USA, Inc. (Nasdaq: RKLB) (“Rocket Lab” or “the Company”), a global leader in launch services and space systems, today successfully launched its 42nd Electron rocket and deployed a satellite for Japan-based Earth imaging company the Institute for Q-shu Pioneers of Space, Inc. (iQPS). The mission was Rocket Lab’s 10th Electron launch for the year, surpassing the Company’s previous annual record of nine launches in 2022. For the fifth year in a row, Electron has retained the title of second most frequently launched U.S. rocket annually.

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here:

Rocket Lab's 42nd Electron rocket lifts-off from Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand, deploying an Earth observation satellite for iQPS (Photo: Business Wire)

Rocket Lab's 42nd Electron rocket lifts-off from Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand, deploying an Earth observation satellite for iQPS (Photo: Business Wire)

The mission, named “The Moon God Awakens”, launched from Pad B at Rocket Lab’s Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand at 17:05 NZDT / 04:05 UTC on December 15th. Named after the Japanese God of the Moon, the iQPS-SAR-5 satellite “TSUKUYOMI-I” is a synthetic-aperture radar (SAR) satellite that will collect high-resolution images of Earth. The satellite joins another iQPS satellite already in orbit and forms part of what will eventually be a 36-satellite constellation capable of monitoring Earth at specific fixed points every 10 minutes.

The mission went from contract signing to successful launch in just eight months, once again demonstrating Rocket Lab’s ability to provide tailored, dedicated launches on rapid timelines.

“Congratulations to our team for hitting a new annual launch record of ten missions, further cementing Electron’s position as the leading small launch vehicle globally. Once again, for the fifth year running, Electron is the second most frequently launched U.S. rocket annually and we look forward to building on that record with an even busier year of launches in 2024,” said Rocket Lab founder and CEO Peter Beck. “It has been a privilege to provide the team at iQPS with a dedicated ride to orbit on an accelerated timeline and we’re honored to play a key role in building out their SAR constellation with Electron.”

Images and video from the launch of ‘The Moon God Awakens’ available for download here:

Details of Rocket Lab’s next Electron mission will be announced in the coming days.

+ About Rocket Lab

Founded in 2006, Rocket Lab is an end-to-end space company with an established track record of mission success. We deliver reliable launch services, satellite manufacture, spacecraft components, and on-orbit management solutions that make it faster, easier, and more affordable to access space. Headquartered in Long Beach, California, Rocket Lab designs and manufactures the Electron small orbital launch vehicle, the Photon satellite platform, and the Company is developing the large Neutron launch vehicle for constellation deployment. Since its first orbital launch in January 2018, Rocket Lab’s Electron launch vehicle has become the second most frequently launched U.S. rocket annually and has delivered 172 satellites to orbit for private and public sector organizations, enabling operations in national security, scientific research, space debris mitigation, Earth observation, climate monitoring, and communications. Rocket Lab’s Photon spacecraft platform has been selected to support NASA missions to the Moon and Mars, as well as the first private commercial mission to Venus. Rocket Lab has three launch pads at two launch sites, including two launch pads at a private orbital launch site located in New Zealand and a third launch pad in Virginia. To learn more, visit

+ About iQPS

iQPS is a space start-up founded in 2005 by two Emeritus Professors of Kyushu University and a rocket developer to establish the space industry in the Kyushu region in Japan. Based on more than 20 years of technology in the development of small satellites at Kyushu University, now iQPS brings together young engineers and industrialists with a team of pioneering professors emeritus. In addition, iQPS's business is strongly supported by more than 25 partner companies, mostly in northern Kyushu. The goal of iQPS small SAR satellite QPS-SAR project is to deliver a near real-time data provision service. Today, three QPS-SARs have been launched and are in operation: QPS-SAR- 1 "IZANAGI", 2 "IZANAMI" and 6 “AMATERU-Ⅲ”. In July 2023, iQPS released Spotlight images of QPS-SAR-6 with azimuth resolution of 46cm and range resolution of 39 cm, which is the highest resolution ever achieved by a Japanese commercial SAR satellite. Unfortunately, QPS-SAR-3 and 4 have not been deployed into orbit due to rocket failure. For further information please check:

+ Forward Looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. We intend such forward-looking statements to be covered by the safe harbor provisions for forward looking statements contained in Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”) and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”). All statements contained in this press release other than statements of historical fact, including, without limitation, statements regarding our launch and space systems operations, launch schedule and window, safe and repeatable access to space, Neutron development, operational expansion and business strategy are forward-looking statements. The words “believe,” “may,” “will,” “estimate,” “potential,” “continue,” “anticipate,” “intend,” “expect,” “strategy,” “future,” “could,” “would,” “project,” “plan,” “target,” and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements, though not all forward-looking statements use these words or expressions. These statements are neither promises nor guarantees, but involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other important factors that may cause our actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements, including but not limited to the factors, risks and uncertainties included in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022, as such factors may be updated from time to time in our other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”), accessible on the SEC’s website at and the Investor Relations section of our website at, which could cause our actual results to differ materially from those indicated by the forward-looking statements made in this press release. Any such forward-looking statements represent management’s estimates as of the date of this press release. While we may elect to update such forward-looking statements at some point in the future, we disclaim any obligation to do so, even if subsequent events cause our views to change.


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