Seconds Before Launch 2-7-2022!
ASTRA scrubbed their 2nd launch attempt a demonstration mission for NASA just as the five Delphin kerosene engines ignited briefly due to what the company is reporting as a minor telemetry issue. On Saturday February 5th ASTRA scrubbed the launch attempt due to a radar system issue with the United States Space Force Space Launch Delta 45 installation went out of service.
Under a 3.9 million dollar NASA contract under the Venture Class launch services program Demo – 2 the ELana 41 mission (Educational Launch of Nano Satellites) mission has four small satellites on board from three United States Universities and one from the Johnson Space Center.
The 43 foot tall rocket can carry up to 110 pounds of payload or 50 kilograms into a low earth orbit. This is ASTRA’s fifth mission with the first three ending in failure (but important data was acquired) and the fourth did reach orbit without any true payloads being on board except for some United States Air Force measuring instruments.
The rocket can fit in a 45 foot standard shipping cargo container or could also fit inside the retired U.S. Space Shuttle cargo bay. It can carry up to 110 pounds 50 kilograms of satellites into low earth orbit at 310 miles high.
On board is the BAMA-1 the University of Alabama Tuscaloosa cube satellite to study the use of a drag sail in deorbiting spent satellites in order to help with the large problem of space debris.
Also the INCA is a New Mexico State University payload to improve weather models and study radiation in low earth orbit.
University of California Berkeley called QubeSat has a new miniature gyroscope to test out. The last CubeSat is from the Johnson Space Center testing rapid CubeSat development.
Space Launch Complex 46 was used for Trident missiles back in the 1980’s and has been dormant since 1999 but has been refurbished by Space Florida who has the lease on the launch pad.
ASTRA was founded in 2016 by Chris Kemp and Dr. Adam London and went public in July 2021 the very first space launch company on the NASDAQ stock exchange under the symbol (ASTR).
ASTRA’s next launch attempt is still undetermined until the company reviews all the data from this most recent scrub attempt.
Article and photo by Scott Schilke for spacenews.lu and space-news.es