Astra’s first orbital mission landed, but it soon came down again.
California-based space travel made its debut The first orbital test aircraft Tonight (September 11), its two-stage rocket launches 3.1 into the sky at 11:20 pm from the Pacific Spaceport campus in Alaska (local Alaska time at 7:20 pm and September 12 at 0320 GMT).
The 38-foot-tall (12 meters) booster, without carrying any loads, did not reach the finish line.
“Successful throw, but the first phase of the flight was over when it burned out. Looks like we got a good amount of nominal flight time. More updates are to come!” Astra tweeted tonight.
Related: History of rockets
Best shot of Rocket 3.1 off the pad! pic.twitter.com/g8uo6N2HQwSeptember 12, 2020
Failure is no shock; Introductory planes rarely go with swimming, and Astra has openly stated that it does not expect a completeness. A prelaunch task description, Company representatives wrote that the primary purpose is to achieve nominal first-stage combustion, which will keep Astra on track to reach orbit within three aircraft.
That hasn’t happened, but it looks like the company will have more reasonable data to analyze before the next attempt. Astra aims to go into orbit with three more attempts or less.
“We are pleased to have made the first one ton of progress in our orbit in three attempts! We are proud of our team; we will review the data, make changes, and release Rocket 3.2, which is almost complete,” Astra wrote. Another tweet Tonight.
We are pleased to have made the first one ton of progress in three attempts on our path to orbit! We are incredibly proud of our team; We will review the data, make changes, and launch Rocket 3.2, which is almost done. 📸: ohjohnkrausphotos pic.twitter.com/K0R7A0Q8wcSeptember 12, 2020
Astra plans to provide low-cost, dedicated rides into space for small satellites that are more and more efficient. The company’s website is currently available Provides delivery services 310 miles (500 km) in orbit for balloons weighing between 110 pounds. And 330 lbs. (50 to 150 kg).
Another California-based company, Rocket Laboratory, Currently has a congestion on this side of the emerging smallsat publishing market, but Astra believes it can create a niche for itself by offering a cheaper alternative.
During a telecommunications conference with reporters on July 30, he said, “What we are trying to do is create a service that is low cost to operate and low cost to provide publishing service.” Cheaper rocket, more automated factory, more automatic launching functionality and, in fact, a real focus on performance and eliminating costs from every aspect of service so that we can achieve size and ultimately reduce costs through sizes and production economies. “
(SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket And other large boosters are increasingly elevating small spacecraft, but generally the main purpose of which includes delivering one or more large satellites into orbit is the pickpocket “rightshares”. Rocket Lab offers exclusive rides for smaller satellites, as Astra also plans to do.)
Thanks, elonmusk. We appreciate that and are encouraged by the progress we have made today on our first three flights on the way around https://t.co/CrH8iBYNpS.September 12, 2020
As part of the $ 12 million Darba (Defense Advanced Research Program Agency) launch challenge, Astra planned to launch its first orbit in February or March this year. But due to bad weather and technical problems Rocket 3.0, the booster planned to build that aircraft, Blocked the company From meeting the short release window of the competition.
Rocket 3.0 crashed in late March, during preparations for another launch attempt that was not linked to the Darba launch challenge. So the orbital-lifting milestone fell to its successor Rocket 3.1. Bad weather and technical issues delayed Rocket 3.1’s flight several times until tonight.
Tonight’s launch is Astra’s third time overall, having attempted auxiliary spacecraft in 2018 with two previous rocket revisions.
Mike Wall is the author of a book on the quest for alien life, “Out There” (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; explained by Carl Tate). Follow him on Twitter michaeldwall. Follow us on Twitter pSpacedotcom or Facebook