Update at 2PM ET: Launch failed – Astra reports that its TROPICS-1 mission ended in failure after shutting down the second stage engine of the 0010 launch vehicle rocket earlier than planned. The rocket was unable to deliver the two diagonal Tropics cubes into NASA’s orbit. Read the full launch failure story.
Astra aims to achieve its second successive success in satellite deployment today.
The California-based startup aims to launch two small businesses on Sunday (June 12th) cubes For NASA’s time-bound observations of precipitation structure and storm intensity with the Constellation of Smallsats (TROPICS) mission.
Astra and NASA will attempt to take off during a two-hour window that opens at 12 p.m. EDT (1600 GMT). will be launched from Cape Canaveral Space Station in Florida and includes the 43-foot (13 m) Astra Launch Vehicle 0010 (LV0010). You can watch it live here on Space.com, courtesy of Astra, or directly through the company and its live broadcast partner NASASpaceflight.com.
The two-stage LV0010 appears ready to go; The missile passed a static fire test – a routine initial check during which launcher engines are fired while the vehicle remains anchored on the ground – earlier this week, Astra announced via Twitter (Opens in a new tab).
Flight LV0010 will come about three months after the success of the first-ever full Astra mission. On March 15 LV0009 Deploy a variety of customer payloads in their designated orbit shortly after liftoff from the Pacific Spaceport Complex on Kodiak Island in Alaska.
Successful static fire for NASA TROPICS-1! #AdAstra pic.twitter.com/Ibm2GvW2Gy6 June 2022
Astra It has reached orbit beforebut that was on a test flight that didn’t carry any working satellites.
The upcoming launch will be the first of three TROPICS flights for Astra this year, if all goes according to plan. Each of these missions will hoist two orbiting cubic satellites, which will study the formation and evolution of hurricanes in great detail.
NASA officials said the TROPICS network will allow researchers to monitor the development of tropical cyclones nearly hourly — much more than is possible with currently operating weather satellites.
Editor’s note: This story was updated twice on Saturday, June 11, to include the launch time announced by Astra and to add a link to the Astra/NASASpaceflight.com livestream.
Mike Wall is the author of “Abroad (Opens in a new tab)Book (Great Grand Publishing House, 2018; illustrated by Carl Tate), a book on the search for extraterrestrials. Follow him on Twitter Tweet embed (Opens in a new tab). Follow us on Twitter Tweet embed (Opens in a new tab) or on Facebook (Opens in a new tab).
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