Florida Astra rocket launch fails after failed second attempt

Astra on Monday canceled its second first-time launch attempt from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

The scrub followed a launchpad abort shortly after the company was ignited 40-foot rocket, which the company calls Rocket 3.3 LV0008, or simply “Rocket”.

The abort occurred 50 minutes into the available three-hour launch window, giving time to try again, but business civil servants ultimately decided to wait another day.

astra, did not immediately announce a new targeted launch opportunity. The company’s founder and CEO, Chris Kemp, said on Twitter: “While we considered another attempt today, out of an abundance of caution, we are giving the team time to conduct a more comprehensive review of the data. ”

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Astra completed its final countdown sequence and transfer to internal power at T-60 seconds. But after a successful ignition sequence of all engines, the computers automatically shut down the engines due to a “minor telemetry glitch”.

Astra's rocket stands at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station for the launch of the ELaNa 41 mission on Saturday, February 5, 2022. The company canceled the rocket's second launch attempt on Monday after a problem telemetry triggered a launch abort as the rocket engine ignited.

Rubbed attempt follows Saturday’s First Launch Opportunity which was canceled due to a failure of a range radar.

The mission, Educational Launch of Nanosatellites (ELaNa 41), is Astra’s first for NASA. It features a payload of four miniature satellites known as CubeSats. Three of the small payloads were designed and developed by universities, while the last was developed by NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.

As well as being Astra’s first mission to NASA, it will also be the first satellite deployment for the company and its first launch from Cape Canaveral.

An Astra rocket remains on the launch pad on Saturday February 5, 2022 after a range issue aborted today's launch.  Craig Bailey/FLORIDA TODAY via USA TODAY NETWORK

So far, Astra has only conducted launch operations from the Pacific Spaceport Complex in Kodiak, Alaska.

The California-based company’s first successful orbital test flight took place from Alaska in November 2021 aboard the previous iteration of its launch vehicle, Rocket 3.2 LV0007. Although the launcher was able to reach orbit, no payload was deployed.

Astra’s stated mission is to build cheap, easy-to-fly rockets using off-the-shelf parts and methods. At just 40 feet tall, Astra’s rocket is much smaller than those typically launched from Cape Town. SpaceX’s Falcon 9, for example, is 230 feet tall.

From start to finish, Astra’s Rocket 3.3 and its necessary supporting equipment are compact enough to be installed and shipped in standard shipping containers. “We can really get a pad up and running in days with a red team of about five people,” said Carolina Grossman, director of product management at Astra. “We really design our system to be as agile as possible,” she continued.

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