Rocket Lab to Launch Earth Observation Satellite for Japanese Earth Imaging Company iQPS

Rocket Lab to Launch Earth Observation Satellite for Japanese Earth Imaging Company iQPS

Rocket Lab USA, a global launch services and space systems company, announced it has signed a deal to launch an Earth observation satellite on Electron for the Institute for Q-shu Pioneers of Space (iQPS), a Japan-based Earth imaging company. iQPS was originally manifested on another launch vehicle, but iQPS has now selected Rocket Lab to launch QPS-SAR-5 on a dedicated Electron mission to expedite the deployment.

The launch is scheduled for lift-off in September 2023 and will carry iQPS’s QPS-SAR-5 satellite named “TSUKUYOMI-I” into orbit on a dedicated Electron mission from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 in Mahia, New Zealand. The mission has been named “The Moon God Awakens” in acknowledgment of Tsukuyomi, the Japanese God of the Moon.

“This is exactly the kind of mission Electron was designed for and has delivered on time and time again – a customer urgently seeking a dedicated launch to a unique orbit on a rapid timeline. We’re delighted to deliver that capability to our new partners at iQPS and keep their mission on schedule,” said Rocket Lab founder and CEO Peter Beck. “iQPS’ SAR technology can play a vital role in disaster prevention, marine monitoring, infrastructure management, agriculture, and more. The sooner their spacecraft is in orbit the faster those capabilities can be delivered, so we’re grateful for the opportunity to make iQPS’ mission possible with a dependable launch service.”

iQPS CEO Dr. Shunsuke Onishi commented, "We are very pleased to announce the new launch plan for QPS-SAR-5 following the successful QPS-SAR-6 launch in June, despite the delay due to status changes since our announcement of the contract for QPS-SAR-5 in May last year. We highly appreciate Rocket Lab and our team for all their efforts in arranging this new launch contract as it is very meaningful for us to quickly deploy the satellites into orbit and build a 36-QPS-SAR constellation that will enable near real-time observation almost anywhere in the world which we are aiming for. We believe that this collaboration with Rocket Lab for QPS-SAR-5 will evolve our SAR image data services and expand our business."

QPS-SAR-5 is a synthetic-aperture radar (SAR) satellite that will join a constellation after QPS-SAR-6 is already in orbit. iQPS’s satellites are small, high-performance SAR satellites that use a lightweight, large, stowable antenna to collect high-resolution images of Earth, even through clouds and adverse weather conditions. Ultimately, the iQPS constellation is planned to have 36 satellites capable of monitoring specific fixed points on Earth every 10 minutes. In addition to being launched by Electron, the QPS-SAR-5 satellite will use Rocket Lab’s Mark II Motorized Lightband (MLB) as its separation system demonstrating the Company’s vertically integrated space systems strategy.

Click here to learn about the QPS-SAR project from iQPS.

Publisher: SatNow

GNSS Constellations - A list of all GNSS satellites by constellations


Satellite NameOrbit Date
BeiDou-3 G4Geostationary Orbit (GEO)17 May, 2023
BeiDou-3 G2Geostationary Orbit (GEO)09 Mar, 2020
Compass-IGSO7Inclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)09 Feb, 2020
BeiDou-3 M19Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)16 Dec, 2019
BeiDou-3 M20Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)16 Dec, 2019
BeiDou-3 M21Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)23 Nov, 2019
BeiDou-3 M22Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)23 Nov, 2019
BeiDou-3 I3Inclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)04 Nov, 2019
BeiDou-3 M23Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)22 Sep, 2019
BeiDou-3 M24Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)22 Sep, 2019


Satellite NameOrbit Date
GSAT0223MEO - Near-Circular05 Dec, 2021
GSAT0224MEO - Near-Circular05 Dec, 2021
GSAT0219MEO - Near-Circular25 Jul, 2018
GSAT0220MEO - Near-Circular25 Jul, 2018
GSAT0221MEO - Near-Circular25 Jul, 2018
GSAT0222MEO - Near-Circular25 Jul, 2018
GSAT0215MEO - Near-Circular12 Dec, 2017
GSAT0216MEO - Near-Circular12 Dec, 2017
GSAT0217MEO - Near-Circular12 Dec, 2017
GSAT0218MEO - Near-Circular12 Dec, 2017


Satellite NameOrbit Date
Kosmos 2569--07 Aug, 2023
Kosmos 2564--28 Nov, 2022
Kosmos 2559--10 Oct, 2022
Kosmos 2557--07 Jul, 2022
Kosmos 2547--25 Oct, 2020
Kosmos 2545--16 Mar, 2020
Kosmos 2544--11 Dec, 2019
Kosmos 2534--27 May, 2019
Kosmos 2529--03 Nov, 2018
Kosmos 2527--16 Jun, 2018


Satellite NameOrbit Date
Navstar 82Medium Earth Orbit19 Jan, 2023
Navstar 81Medium Earth Orbit17 Jun, 2021
Navstar 78Medium Earth Orbit22 Aug, 2019
Navstar 77Medium Earth Orbit23 Dec, 2018
Navstar 76Medium Earth Orbit05 Feb, 2016
Navstar 75Medium Earth Orbit31 Oct, 2015
Navstar 74Medium Earth Orbit15 Jul, 2015
Navstar 73Medium Earth Orbit25 Mar, 2015
Navstar 72Medium Earth Orbit29 Oct, 2014
Navstar 71Medium Earth Orbit02 Aug, 2014


Satellite NameOrbit Date
NVS-01Geostationary Orbit (GEO)29 May, 2023
IRNSS-1IInclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)12 Apr, 2018
IRNSS-1HSub Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (Sub-GTO)31 Aug, 2017
IRNSS-1GGeostationary Orbit (GEO)28 Apr, 2016
IRNSS-1FGeostationary Orbit (GEO)10 Mar, 2016
IRNSS-1EGeosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)20 Jan, 2016
IRNSS-1DInclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)28 Mar, 2015
IRNSS-1CGeostationary Orbit (GEO)16 Oct, 2014
IRNSS-1BInclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)04 Apr, 2014
IRNSS-1AInclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)01 Jul, 2013