(ORDO NEWS) — Yesterday Astra again launched a rocket with the uncomplicated name Rocket 3.3. Alas, like almost all company launches, this one turned out to be a failure.
Yesterday, at 23:00 Moscow time, the latest rocket from the American company Astra with BAMA-1, INCA, QubeSat and R5-S1 satellites was launched from the Cape Canaveral cosmodrome. Unfortunately, the mission ended in failure. The carrier was unable to put the spacecraft into orbit due to technical difficulties.
Approximately three and a half minutes after the launch, the first stage separated automatically. After that, the second stage engine was activated, however, it began to rotate uncontrollably, and communication with the stage was soon lost. Additional information about the accident will be published later, after analyzing all the data.
This was the fifth launch of the Rocket 3 rocket. The first three launches, conducted from September 2020 to August 2021, were failures. The fourth start, performed in November 2021, was successful. This is the only successful launch of Rocket 3 to date.
The Astra rocket is approximately 12 meters long. It is designed to launch small satellites into low Earth orbit. The developers believe that the carrier will be able to win a significant part of the market due to its exceptional low cost.
The launch price of Rocket 3.0 is estimated at about $2.5 million, which is significantly lower than the cost of launching the famous Electron rocket (about $7.5 million). Rocket 3.0 can launch up to 150 kilograms of payload into a 500-kilometer sun-synchronous orbit.
The first stage of the rocket received five Delphin liquid engines. The second stage was equipped with an Aether engine. For the manufacture of rockets use “very thin aluminum”. The spent carrier should burn up almost completely in the Earth’s atmosphere, and the fallen components will dissolve in the ocean.
In addition to the Rocket 3 family, Astra is working on the promising Rocket 4 and Rocket 5. The first is an upgraded version of the Rocket 3 with new first stage engines and higher performance. The year 2022 was called as the date for its first launch.
Rocket 5 should also become an upgraded version of Rocket 3. Its purpose is suborbital delivery from one point to another.
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