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Rocket Lab will launch its 1st mission from new pad today. Here's how to watch live

Rocket Lab is ready to launch the first mission from its newly built pad in New Zealand on Monday (Feb. 28), and you can watch the event live.

The window for the mission, dubbed "The Owl's Night Continues," opens at 3:35 p.m. EST (2035 GMT) on Monday. You can watch it live here at Space.com, courtesy of Rocket Lab, or directly via the company.

The mission plan calls for a Rocket Lab Electron launcher to heft a Strix Earth-observation satellite into orbit for the Japanese company Synspective. Rocket Lab will be using the newly completed Pad B at its New Zealand launch complex, which lies on the North Island's Mahia Peninsula.

In a statement (opens in new tab), the company said that it has two more launches for Synspective lined up after this one — another one in 2022 and a third in 2023.

Related: Rocket Lab and its Electron booster (photos)

Rocket Lab's Launch Complex 1 in New Zealand, with Pad A and the newly completed Pad B. (Image credit: Rocket Lab)

Each mission, Rocket Lab stated, will loft a single Strix satellite to orbit. Strix spacecraft study Earth using synthetic aperture radar (SAR), which can look through clouds to see the surface of the planet during daytime or nighttime passes. Strix craft are meant to detect "millimeter-level changes" to Earth's surface between passes, Rocket Lab said.

The mission name, "The Owl's Night Continues," is a playful reference to Rocket Lab's first launch for Synspective in December 2020 that launched the Strix-α satellite. That 2020 mission was called "The Owl's Night Begins." (Strix is a diverse and widespread genus of owls.)

The Strix-α mission, Rocket Lab added, was "the first spacecraft in Synspective’s planned constellation of more than 30 SAR satellites, designed to collate data of metropolitan centers on a daily basis to support urban development planning, construction and infrastructure monitoring and disaster response."

The 59-foot-tall (18 meters) Electron gives small satellites dedicated rides to orbit, as opposed to sharing a ride on a larger rocket. Electron has been quite prolific in recent years, and Rocket Lab says Pad B will allow for even more launches in the years to come. 

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Elizabeth Howell
Staff Writer, Spaceflight

Elizabeth Howell, Ph.D., is a staff writer in the spaceflight channel since 2022. She was contributing writer for Space.com (opens in new tab) for 10 years before that, since 2012. As a proud Trekkie and Canadian, she also tackles topics like diversity, science fiction, astronomy and gaming to help others explore the universe. Elizabeth's on-site reporting includes two human spaceflight launches from Kazakhstan, three space shuttle missions in Florida, and embedded reporting from a simulated Mars mission in Utah. She holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, and a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada's Carleton University. Elizabeth is also a post-secondary instructor in communications and science since 2015. Her latest book, Leadership Moments from NASA, is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth first got interested in space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, and still wants to be an astronaut someday.