Astra startup company’s first test launch fails during the flight mission. Astra’s Rocket 3.1 successfully lifted off but the first-stage burn.
The USA California based spaceflight startup company Astra‘s launched its first orbital test flight on September 11th. Then lifted its two-stage Rocket 3.1 skyward from the Pacific Spaceport Complex in Alaska. For this mission, 12 meters booster, which was carrying no payloads, didn’t make it all the way to the final edge. After the sad news, the company shared a tweet and says: “Successful lift off and fly out, but the flight ended during the first-stage burn. It does look like we got a good amount of nominal flight time. More updates to come!”
This failure not surprising the company and Astra publish a blog post:
Great shot of Rocket 3.1 leaving the pad! pic.twitter.com/g8uo6N2HQw
— Astra (@Astra) September 12, 2020
“As we’ve always said, we expect it to take three flights to make it to orbit. Tonight, we saw a beautiful launch! Preliminary data review indicates the rocket performed very well. Early in the flight, our guidance system appears to have introduced some slight oscillation into the flight, causing the vehicle to drift from its planned trajectory leading to a commanded shutdown of the engines by the flight safety system. We didn’t meet all of our objectives, but we did gain valuable experience, plus even more valuable flight data. This launch sets us well on our way to reaching orbit within two additional flights, so we’re happy with the result.
We are incredibly proud of what the team accomplished today. This was our first orbital launch attempt, and the first flight of a rocket designed from the ground-up for low cost mass production and highly-automated launch operations. The entire launch system was deployed by six people in less than a week – completely unprecedented. Astra’s strategy is to learn fast through iterative development. Although we’re pleased with today’s outcome, we still have more work to do to reach orbit. Once we reach orbit, we will relentlessly continue to improve the economics of the system as we deliver our customers’ payloads.
Over the next several weeks, we’ll be taking a close look at the flight data to determine how to make the next flight more successful. Rocket 3.2 is already built and ready for another big step towards orbit. Thank you to our incredible team and their families, all of our supporters, and stay tuned for updates over the next few weeks. We’ll be back to the pad before you know it!
Chris and Adam”
You can watch the Astra‘s Rocket 3.1 launch video below.