June 28, 2022

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What went wrong with the failed launch of the Astra missile?

What went wrong with the failed launch of the Astra missile?

The launch of an Astra rocket from Cape Town on Sunday failed, and this is the second time the startup has been unable to put satellites into orbit. It is known as the “Little Rocket” because the Astra Venture-class vehicle is much smaller than the rockets of other private space companies such as SpaceX and Blue Origin. On Sunday’s mission, California-based Astra was to deploy two NASA cubic satellites from Cape Canaveral. They were supposed to be part of a hurricane tracking program. But there was a second stage failure, near the same point of failure as the Astra launch in February. That’s when a problem arose with the aerodynamic hoods that send the payload into a spin, burning up in the atmosphere. “They both involve phase two, but I think they are related to different issues,” said Don Platt of Florida Tech. In both cases, NASA’s satellites were lost. This last malfunction occurred just before two NASA satellites were put into orbit. “It looks like it was an engine problem too late in the second stage burnout,” Platt said. “In fact, they were probably 20 seconds away from getting into orbit.” Spaceflight was, and will continue to be, challenging. There is a great deal of trial and error. Some believe that the recent success in commercial spaceflight should not taint the idea of ​​how difficult space flight can be.” We may overlook the fact that this is not an easy thing to do. That’s not just about getting on a commercial plane and flying around the country, Platt said. “This is an order of magnitude more difficult than almost any other engineering endeavor.” It’s something that was easy to forget when launches from Space Coast this year averaged about one a week.

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An Astra missile launch from the Cape on Sunday failed.

It’s the second time the startup has been unable to put satellites into orbit.

It is known as the “Little Rocket” because the Astra Venture-class vehicle is much smaller than the rockets of other private space companies such as SpaceX and Blue Origin.

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

But there was a second stage failure, near the same point of failure as the Astra launch in February. That’s when a problem arose with the aerodynamic hoods that send the payload into a spin, burning up in the atmosphere.

“They both involve phase two, but I think they are related to different issues,” said Don Platt of Florida Tech.

In both cases, NASA’s satellites were lost. This last malfunction occurred just before two NASA satellites were put into orbit.

“It looks like it was an engine problem too late in the second stage afterburner. In fact, they were probably 20 seconds away from getting orbit,” Platt said.

Spaceflight has been, and will continue to be, difficult. In the early days of entrepreneurship, decades ago, there was a great deal of trial and error. Some believe the recent success in commercial spaceflight should not taint the idea of ​​how difficult spaceflight can be.

“We may overlook the fact that this is not an easy thing to do. This is not just about taking a commercial airliner and flying around the country,” Platt said. “This is an order of magnitude more difficult than almost any other engineering endeavor.”

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It’s something that was easy to forget when launches from Space Coast this year average about once a week.