Home / Innovative / Astra’s first attempt to reach orbit ends early after the missile fails in mid-flight

Astra’s first attempt to reach orbit ends early after the missile fails in mid-flight



The first orbital mission for the rocket launch startup Astra ended without the 3.1 rocket reaching orbit. The rocket successfully launched from the Pacific Spaceport Complex in Alaska at around 11:19 p.m. ET Friday, but the company said its guidance system “introduced slight vibrations into the flight” that caused the rocket to drift from its planned trajectory. The flight safety system shut down the engines and the missile fell back to the ground. It carried no payloads.

A viewer followed the launch on video and showed the rocket ascent. In the footage, the rocket’s engine turns off in flight, and moments later you can see flames as the rocket hits the ground.

The company̵

7;s stated goal on this flight was to achieve nominal first stage combustion, which apparently did not quite happen as the engine was shut down at that point. But Astra did not intend to reach orbit with that launch. The preliminary data showed that the missile performed very well.

“We did not achieve all of our goals, but we have gained valuable experience and even more valuable flight data,” said the company in a blog post on Saturday. “With this start, we are well on the way to reaching orbit within two additional flights. So we are happy with the result.”

Astra is a very small team – small enough to say it doesn’t have a video production team to broadcast its launches – and that its launch system was developed by six people in less than a week. According to Astra, the Rocket 3.2 is ready and is planning another launch in the next few months.




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