Astra's failed rocket launch reminds us spaceflight can be difficult
astra's failed rocket launch reminds us spaceflight can be difficult

Astra’s failed rocket launch reminds us spaceflight can be difficult


An Astra rocket launch from the Cape on Sunday failed.It’s the second time the start-up was unable to put satellites into orbit. It’s known as the ‘little rocket’ as the Astra Venture-class vehicle is much smaller than the other private space companies’ rockets like SpaceX and Blue Origin. On Sunday’s mission, California-based Astra was due to deploy two cube satellites for NASA from Cape Canaveral. They were to be part of a hurricane tracking program. But there was a malfunction with the second stage, near the same point of a failure in Astra’s February launch. That’s when an issue arose with the fairing covers sending the payload into a spin, burning up in the atmosphere. “They are both involving the second stage, but I think they are involving different issues,” said Don Platt of Florida Tech. In both cases, customer NASA’s satellites were lost. This last malfunction happened just before the two NASA satellites were to be put into orbit. “It seems like it was an engine issue very, very late in the second stage burn. They were almost to orbit,” Platt said. “In fact, they were probably 20 seconds away from obtaining orbit.” Space flight has been and will continue to be difficult. In the early pioneering days, decades ago, there was a great deal of trial and error. And some believe recent success with commercial space flight should not cloud the perception of just how difficult space flight remains. “We might lose sight of the fact that this is still not an easy thing to do. And this is not just getting into a commercial airplane and flying across the country,” Platt said. “This is orders of magnitude more difficult than pretty much almost any other engineering endeavor.”It’s something that has been easy to forget when launches from the Space Coast this year have been averaging nearly one a week.

An Astra rocket launch from the Cape on Sunday failed.

It’s the second time the start-up was unable to put satellites into orbit.

It’s known as the ‘little rocket’ as the Astra Venture-class vehicle is much smaller than the other private space companies’ rockets like SpaceX and Blue Origin.

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

But there was a malfunction with the second stage, near the same point of a failure in Astra’s February launch. That’s when an issue arose with the fairing covers sending the payload into a spin, burning up in the atmosphere.

“They are both involving the second stage, but I think they are involving different issues,” said Don Platt of Florida Tech.

In both cases, customer NASA’s satellites were lost. This last malfunction happened just before the two NASA satellites were to be put into orbit.

“It seems like it was an engine issue very, very late in the second stage burn. They were almost to orbit,” Platt said. “In fact, they were probably 20 seconds away from obtaining orbit.”

Space flight has been and will continue to be difficult. In the early pioneering days, decades ago, there was a great deal of trial and error. And some believe recent success with commercial space flight should not cloud the perception of just how difficult space flight remains.

“We might lose sight of the fact that this is still not an easy thing to do. And this is not just getting into a commercial airplane and flying across the country,” Platt said. “This is orders of magnitude more difficult than pretty much almost any other engineering endeavor.”

It’s something that has been easy to forget when launches from the Space Coast this year have been averaging nearly one a week.

Check Also

Who wants to be a billionaire? Most don't -- which is good news for the planet -- ScienceDaily

Infected mice lacking molecule have less inflammation, fewer blood clots in lungs — ScienceDaily

Blocking an immune response-related enzyme holds promise in preventing or treating severe COVID-19 symptoms by …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.