Rocket startup Astra scrubs its first launch for NASA

Rocket startup Astra had to scrub it First launch for NASA, scheduled for yesterday Saturday February 5 due to a range asset issue.

“The withdrawal from today’s launch of @NASA’s ELaNa 41 mission due to a decommissioned range asset,” Astra wrote on Twitter. “The team is preparing for the next opportunity on Sunday February 6th. Stay tuned.”

Resignation from today’s start of @NASA‘s ELaNa 41 mission due to a range asset that was out of service. The team is preparing for the next opportunity on Sunday February 6th. Stay tuned. #To Astra

– Astra (@Astra) February 5, 2022

Chris Kemp, CEO of Astra, sent provided some more details on this issue and said: “We are withdrawing today due to a range equipment failure resulting in a critical range detection facility being unavailable to support our launch. ”

In a sequel tweet An hour later, Space Launch Delta 45 (SLD 45), the Space Force unit overseeing the Cape Canaveral station, gave more details about the problem and confirmed it was a radar system problem: “SLD 45 has isolating the problem with the radar system and is it working on a fix. We are ready to support the next launch opportunity.”

Astra then Confirmed that it would delay the launch of the mission until Monday, February 7th. However, an exact timing for the new launch has not yet been confirmed, judging by the postponement Live broadcast, it looks like the launch is expected to happen around 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT).

The goal of the mission is to launch four CubeSats, or small satellites, as part of NASA’s Educational Launch of Nanosatellites (ELaNa 41) program. This brings together students, faculty, and NASA personnel to develop small satellites as either technology demonstrations or science experiments. This will be the first Astra launch for NASA, as well as the first launch from Cape Canaveral.

Astra will use its Rocket 3.3, designed to be an affordable and compact launch vehicle for small space missions like this one. Astra had some trouble getting its rocket system into orbit, as its first three rocket launches failed to reach orbit. However, the fourth attempt was successful and the company reached orbit November last year. In December, the company announced it would launch satellites for NASA in a quick turnaround of the permitting process.

“This historic launch site was prepared for a new commercial launch partner in less than a year, which is a tremendous milestone for our combined team and illustrates how SLD 45 is setting the pace for access to space,” said Brigadier General Stephen Purdy, commander of Space Launch Delta 45 and director of the Eastern Range, in a statement at the time. “SLD 45, Space Florida and Astra moved at high speed to demonstrate critical and responsive launch capabilities. We are pleased to welcome Astra to Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.”

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