What went wrong with Astra's failed rocket launch?

An Astra rocket launch from Cape Town failed on Sunday. This is the second time that the start-up has failed to put satellites into orbit. It is known as a “small rocket” because the Astra Venture-class vehicle is much smaller than rockets from other private space companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin. On Sunday’s mission, California-based Astra was to deploy two cube satellites for NASA from Cape Canaveral. They were to be part of a hurricane tracking program. But there was a malfunction with the second stage, near the same point of failure when Astra launched in February. That’s when a problem arose with the fairing covers sending the payload into a spin, burning up in the atmosphere. “They both involve the second stage, but I think they involve different issues,” Florida Tech’s Don Platt said. In both cases, NASA customer satellites were lost. This last malfunction occurred just before the launch of the two NASA satellites. “It appears to be an engine problem very, very late in the second stage burn. They were almost in orbit,” Platt said. “In fact, they were probably 20 seconds away from getting orbit. “Spaceflight has been and will continue to be difficult. In the early pioneer days decades ago, there was a lot of trial and error. And some believe that the recent success of commercial spaceflight should only not cloud the perception of the difficulty of spaceflight.” We risk losing sight that it’s still not an easy thing to do. And it’s not just about getting on a commercial plane and flying through the country,” Platt said. “It’s orders of magnitude more difficult than almost any other engineering undertaking.” It’s something that was easy to forget when launches from the Space Coast this year have averaged nearly one per week.

An Astra rocket launch from Cape Town on Sunday failed.

This is the second time that the start-up has failed to put satellites into orbit.

It is known as a “small rocket” because the Astra Venture-class vehicle is much smaller than rockets from other private space companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin.

On Sunday’s mission, California-based Astra was to deploy two cube satellites for NASA from Cape Canaveral. They were to be part of a hurricane tracking program.

But there was a malfunction with the second stage, near the same point of failure when Astra launched in February. That’s when a problem arose with the fairing covers sending the payload into a spin, burning up in the atmosphere.

“They both involve the second stage, but I think they involve different issues,” Florida Tech’s Don Platt said.

In both cases, NASA customer satellites were lost. This last malfunction occurred just before the launch of the two NASA satellites.

“It appears to be an engine problem very, very late in the second stage burn. They were almost in orbit,” Platt said. “In fact, they were probably 20 seconds away from getting orbit. “

Spaceflight has been and will continue to be difficult. In the early pioneer days, decades ago, there was a lot of trial and error. And some believe that the recent success of commercial spaceflight should not cloud the perception of how difficult spaceflight is.

“We risk losing sight that this is still not an easy thing to do. And it’s not just about getting on a commercial plane and flying across the country,” Platt said. “It’s orders of magnitude more difficult than virtually any other engineering undertaking.”

It’s something that’s been easy to forget when launches from the Space Coast this year have averaged nearly one a week.

By cardgo

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