Astra launch failure led to the loss of two NASA weather satellites

A rocket from space startup Astra failed to deliver two of NASA’s weather-tracking satellites into space after its second-stage engine was prematurely turned off. Both satellites were lost as a result of the failure.

The Astra launch vehicle 0010 (LV0010) took off successfully from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida at 1:43 p.m. ET, but suffered an upper stage failure about 10 minutes into its flight. The launch was part of NASA’s mission to send six TROPICS satellites into space These tiny satellites, about a foot long, should help NASA better track the evolution of tropical storms. CubeSats are low-cost satellites frequently made by researchers at colleges and universities.

“The upper stage closed early and we did not deliver payloads into orbit,” Astra said. Twitter statement. “We have shared our regrets with NASA and the payload team.” Thomas Zurbuchen, associate director of NASA’s science division, acknowledged the unsuccessful launch at Twitter threadbut remained optimistic, noting that it still “provides a great opportunity for new science and launch capabilities.”

It is unclear if NASA plans to launch the remaining TROPICS satellites with Astra or when they will be replaced. NASA did not immediately respond the edgeComment request.

Astra partnered with NASA for the first time in February to bring a batch of CubeSats into space, marking its first launch from Cape Canaveral. but, Astra lost the payload after the missile got out of control after launch.

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To date, Astra has had only two successful orbital launches out of a total of seven attempts – the The company first reached orbit last November And the Customer’s satellites successfully deployed into orbit in March. A host of issues affected other Astra launches, starting with Problems with its steering system to me Engine failure.

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