Astra rocket fails and two NASA satellites are lost
California-based Astra on Sunday launched two shoebox-size NASA satellites from Cape Canaveral in a modest mission to improve hurricane forecasts, but the second stage of the company's low-cost booster malfunctioned before reaching orbit and the payloads were lost.
"The upper stage shut down early and we did not deliver the payloads to orbit," Astra tweeted. "We have shared our regrets with @NASA and the payload team. More information will be provided after we complete a full data analysis."
It was the seventh launch of Astra's small "Venture-class" rocket and the company's fifth failure. Sunday's launch was the first of three planned for NASA to launch six small CubeSats, two at a time, into three orbital planes.
Given the somewhat risky nature of relying on tiny shoebox-size CubeAats and a rocket with a very short track record, the $40 million project requires just four satellites and two successful launches to meet mission objectives.
5 out 7 failed?
and NASA still intends to honor the contract??