After a false start: Astra Space abandons “Rocket 3”, surprising NASA

After a false start: Astra Space abandons "Rocket 3", surprising NASA

After several failures, the American space company Astra Space is mothballing its Rocket 3 and wants to focus entirely on its successor – the “Rocket 4”. According to SpaceNews, NASA was surprised by the move, with the US space agency having booked two more launches. Of the total seven launches of “Rocket 3” in various versions, only two were successful, most recently two NASA satellites were lost in mid-June.

ArsTechnica reports that moving away from previously used rockets has led to a change in strategy at Astra Space. If the company had previously assumed that customers would accept more risk for lower prices, it now wants to proceed differently.

Astra Space moved away from currently used rockets and most recently towards its more powerful successor Quarterly data presentation made known. Hence no more attempts will be made this year. It is not yet clear whether Rocket 4 will fly for the first time in 2023. writes ArsTechnica,

During Rocket 3’s final unsuccessful launch attempt on June 12, two small satellites from NASA’s Tropics mission were lost. With two more launches, Astra Space should actually bring four of them into space. The mission is part of a NASA program for cheap and risky launches by young space companies, and could also operate with up to four satellites.

according to space news However, the planned rocket 4 from Astra Space is not so suitable for the remaining Tropics satellites, intended to move much larger satellites into a different orbit. Because the Tropics orbiter’s planned orbit is quite unusual, other launch flights are out of the question. In any case, NASA was shocked by the departure of Rocket 3, and possible options were still being investigated.

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It is not known who will bear the cost of the possible change. In any case, AstraSpace’s decision on the stock exchange is not respected: the stock had already lost significantly after the most recent false start, but it is now down nearly 20 percent to US$1.29 since the announcement.


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