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Astra Fails to Launch NASA CubeSat: Upper Stage Flew Out of Control After Detaching

Astra’s recent mission to bring NASA’s CubeSat failed to deliver the payload and resulted in losing control of its upper stage spacecraft mid-air. The incident is the fifth failed launch from Astra, and it is only against the one time the company successfully delivered its payload to orbit. Astra is a known competitor of SpaceX, Boeing, Blue Origin, and more. 

Astra’s NASA CubeSat Payload Launch Fails Dramatically

Astra's Rocket Failed to Deliver NASA CubeSat payload

(Photo : Astra via Twitter)

The news about Astra’s failed launch is all over the web, with the company issuing an apology statement that explained what happened in the recent flight. Here, Astra said it would do better on the next launch and said that there were issues on their current flight that ultimately led to its failure to deliver

A user on Twitter shared a recording of the rocket’s demise, capturing the incident itself on how it transpired during the mission. The upper stage rocket failed to detach smoothly with the lower stage, and in turn, it sent the rocket’s payload to lose control and go off-course. 

Even though the rocket saw an excellent launch based on NASA Space Flight’s video coverage of the event, its succeeding moments on air did not turn out to be significant or memorable.

Read Also: Elon Musk Clarifies Astra’s Chris Thompson Was Not SpaceX’s Co-Founder, Despite Being an Early Employee

Astra Lost Control of Upper Stage Despite Flawless Launch

Astra did not yet release a full report on what happened to the failed launch with its rocket, especially on the exact diagnostic of what went wrong with its transition. A rocket going to the second stage where its booster detaches from the top load that will deliver the payload is one of the most crucial maneuvers in space flight, which Astra failed to do correctly. 

Astra’s Flights and its Partnership with NASA

The 2020 decade became the center of space flights and launch, showing the world that it has already evolved in understanding the craft and industry. With this came the commercial space companies that remain private and operate on their discretion, unlike before focusing on military contracts and the like.

Astra is one of the startup companies that brought themselves to the space race early in the game. It presented its designs to NASA and got several contracts with the agency, including missions to carry these rockets to orbit. However, the August 2021 launch of Astra turned out to be a failure, immediately followed by its only successful launch in November.

With the win for the company, it went on to secure another orbit payload mission with NASA, which took place earlier, but sadly failed when it reached the point where its upper stage needed to detach with the lower part of the rocket. 

Here, the CubeSats remain to three private companies or organizations, while one belongs to NASA. Astra will have to recuperate for its next mission to make it a success. 

Related Article: NASA Expresses Concern of SpaceX’s 30,000 Satellites Over Risk of Collisions

This article is owned by Tech Times

Written by Isaiah Richard

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