Space Startup Astra’s Rocket Fails To Reach Orbit After A Scary Launch
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Astra attempted to reach orbit during its third test flight with its two-stage Launch Vehicle 0006. This was the space startup’s first rocket launch since it went public. However, the launch was not as expected by the company. The launch was a bit scary as an engine failed to fire just seconds after the launch. As a result, the rocket hovered sideways rather than rising smoothly off the pad. However, it did manage to attempt to reach orbit and soared high into the Alaska sky. But after 2 minutes and 28 seconds into the flight, the rocket was purposely shut down. According to real-time data provided by Astra, the rocket had reached the height of 20.5 miles when it shut down. The mission was terminated after a small piece of the rocket break off.
The mission was terminated after a camera mounted on the Launch Vehicle 0006 showed a pieced of the booster apparently breaking loose around that time. Carolina Grossman, director of product management at Astra, said that the team will work to determine what went wrong. “We failed to achieve our primary goal. Our team members will work on it to find out what exactly went wrong during the test flight. As we do so, we are optimistic about positive results during our next attempt,” Grossman said.
The 13 meters tall LV 0006 was a member of the company’s Rocket 3.3 series. The rocket was carrying a test payload for the United States Department of Defense’s Space Test Program. The payload was not an operational satellite and therefore not meant to be deployed. The launch was initially planned on Friday but couldn’t take place as the guidance system called an abort seconds after engine ignition. The problem was troubleshot by engineers. They found that it was an engine configuration issue. It was worked upon and the rocket was then ready for liftoff a day later.
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