NASA mission suffers shock failure! Astra rocket crashes, 4 satellites lost
A NASA mission carried out by Astra has failed after its rocket failed to reach orbit. It was the first time the company was attempting to launch operational satellites
A mission funded by NASA, which was being carried out by California-based aerospace company Astra, failed mid-launch. Astra was delivering four satellites into orbit around Earth. It was the company's first ever launch mission dealing with operational satellites. The NASA mission was also Astra's first ever launch from Florida's Cape Canaveral launchpad, which is located at the John F. Kennedy Space Center. The fallout was immediate for the company. After the mission failed, the company's shares fell 26 per cent.
Formerly known as the Stealth Space Company, Astra was founded five years ago, in 2016 by Chris Kemp and Adam London. The company confirmed that it faced an issue during the flight which resulted in the Astra rocket failure. Kemp later apologized in a tweet saying, “I'm deeply sorry we were not able to deliver our customer's payloads. I'm with the team looking at data, and we will provide more info as soon as we can”.
Astra's first ever payload launch results in failure
Astra was on a NASA-funded mission to deliver four operational satellites. It was using the launch vehicle 0008 (LV0008), a 13 meters tall structure. The ELaNa (Educational Launch of Nanosatellites) mission took off on February 10, and initially was performing well. But 3 minutes into the flight, right after the rocket's first and second stage separated, it lost control. At the altitude of 500 kms, the rocket was seen spinning out of path.
So far, Astra has conducted four missions, out of which it has reached space twice. In its last launch mission, it successfully made it to orbit as well. But so far, the company's launches were done in test mode and this NASA mission would have been its first operational flight. The failure also meant none of the satellites made it to orbit. The satellites were ambitious student projects that aimed at solving existing problems in space. For instance, cubesat Bama-1, which was developed by students at the University of Alabama, was trying to solve the space debris problem.
This failed NASA-funded mission has also lowered the faith of private investors in the company. At present, the shares are continuing to fall and have dropped another 15% to stand at $3.31 per share. It remains to be seen how the company regains shareholders' faith.
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