Low-cost Astra rocket fails top-level, loses two NASA satellites

NASA launched two shoe-sized satellites from Cape Canaveral on Sunday in a moderate mission to improve its forecast for the California-based Astra hurricane, but the company’s low-cost second-stage booster malfunctioned before reaching orbit and lost payloads.

“The upper stage closed early and we did not deliver any payloads into orbit,” Astra wrote on Twitter. “We have shared our regrets with NASA and the payload team. More information will be available after we have completed the complete analysis of the data. A

This was the seventh launch of the Astra “Venture-Class” small rocket and the company’s fifth failure. Sunday’s launch was the first of three aircraft scheduled for NASA to launch six small cubesat, two at a time, into three orbiters.

Given the somewhat uncertain nature of relying on a rocket with small shoe box-sized CubeAats and a very short track record, the উদ্দেশ্য 40 million project requires only four satellites and a successful launch to achieve mission objectives.

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An Astra 3.3 rocket carried two small NASA satellites from the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station on Sunday designed to monitor tropical storms and hurricanes.

Webcast Astra / Nassasspaceflight

The NASA agreement calls for the last two flights to be completed by the end of July. It is unknown at this time what he will do after leaving the post.

“Although today’s launch with Astra did not go according to plan, the mission provided an excellent opportunity for new science and launch capabilities,” NASA Chief Science Officer Thomas Jurbuchen tweeted.

The launch took place on Sunday and was delayed 1 hour and 43 minutes to make sure the liquid oxygen booster charge was at the correct temperature. Finally, in anticipation of the company’s third successful flight into orbit, Astra engineers clocked in for a liftoff at 1:43 pm ET.

The five first-stage engines generate 32,500 pounds of thrust, rocketing off panel 46 of the 43-foot-long 3.3 Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, creating a spectacular view for area residents and tourists enjoying a sunny day nearby. The beach

In the first stage the payload is increased from the lower atmosphere and supplied to a single engine that drives the upper layer of the rocket.

Everything seemed to be working fine, when about a minute before the second stage engine stopped, an onboard “rocket camera” showed a flash on the engine’s exhaust shaft. Camera view showed them before cutting a video clip of the missile that stumbled.

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A missile on the side of the stage above the booster shows a sudden change in the exhaust shaft of the camera engine (on the left), indicating a premature shutdown, while flight controllers at the Astra Control Center in Alameda, California monitor. The payload of two satellites is lost.

Webcast Astra / Nassasspaceflight

NASA’s TROPICS mission aims to monitor the development of tropical storms in real time by flying over hurricanes and other major systems every 45 to 50 minutes and returning data on temperature, precipitation, steam water and ice clouds.

This ability to quickly reconsider, that is, the time between passing a satellite over a specific storm system, is intended to help scientists better understand how large storms develop and to help predictors better predict storm paths and intensity.

“Hurricanes from space are really difficult to measure because they are very dynamic, they change in minutes and all their storm features, eye and rain bands have to be resolved spatially,” William said. Blackwell, chief investigator of the Tropis Mission at MIT.

“Today we probably have four or six hours to fly the next satellite. With the cubesat constellations of six satellites … we can fly over it almost every hour. We will see how the storm changes and we can better guess how intense it can be. What we’re trying to do is improve our predictability.

NASA is paying $ 8 million for three Astra launches, about $ 32 million for developing and testing cubes, and one year for data analysis.

The TRPICS mission presents more technical risks than NASA typically accepts – the cubes, although relatively inexpensive, have some repetitions and Astra’s Rocket 3.3 rocket did not show reliable performance – but officials claim that the potential scientific gain justifies the “high risk” project.

“I love tropics, because it’s crazy,” Zurbuchin said last week. “Think six-cube তাক look at tropical storms with a repetition time of 50 minutes instead of 12 hours. A

Following Sunday’s failure, he tweeted: “Although we are disappointed at this point, we know: the NASA World Science Suite is worth the risk because innovation is needed for the leadership we lead. A

Although NASA’s contract includes six cubes and launch vehicles, only four must be operated to meet the contract’s requirements. In that case, the inspection time would be about an hour, Blackwill said. If all six are turned on, the interval between notes will be 45 to 50 minutes.

It is understandable from NASA’s point of view to place TROPICS on what NASA calls a venture-class rocket with a brief trajectory record.

“No matter what the car is, you’re always nervous about any launch,” Blackwell said. But in this case, “we have built-in flexibility[in]To support such new capabilities. So this is a good match between our powerful missions with six satellites, and only four are needed, and this new low-cost fast mission-release capability. A

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