Astra Space rocket fails to reach orbit
Rocket builder Astra Space on Saturday launched its first rocket since the company went public. After a wobbly liftoff, the rocket failed to achieve its goal of reaching orbit. At liftoff, the rocket appeared to move sideways rather than straight up. An Astra spokesperson said the company plans to share more details about what transpired later in the day.
On Saturday, after a brief hold for fueling issues, Astra launched the rocket LV0006 from the Pacific Spaceport Complex in Kodiak, Alaska, at around 3:35 p.m. local time. This was the first commercial launch for Astra, with the U.S. Space Force contracting the launch to test a payload under its Space Test Program.
The vehicle is 43 feet tall and fits in the small rocket segment of the launch market. Astra’s goal is to eventually launch as many of its small rockets as it can, aiming to launch one rocket a day by 2025 and drop its $2.5 million price point even further.
Saturday’s mission, rescheduled after Astra aborted a launch attempt on Friday, tested a variety of upgrades to Astra’s rocket since its last mission in December. While that prior mission made it to space, the rocket ran out of fuel and came just short of reaching orbit.