End of the line for Astra Rocket 3.3 design as company moves on to bigger rocket

by | Aug 5, 2022 | Launches, Reliability Info, Seradata News

According the success/failure ratio on the Seradata SpaceTrak database, the Astra Rocket 3 series cannot be called a reliable launch vehicle. The Astra Rocket 3 series failed five times out of seven attempts, while the latest version failed three out of five times.   And Astra Space, its developer and operator, realises it. The firm has decided to stand down the Astra Rocket 3.0 series to concentrate on a larger successor rocket dubbed the Astra Rocket 4 series. This will fly in 2024. Customers’ launches for their satellites, including four TROPICS satellites for NASA, will be transferred to this new rocket.

Astra Rocket 3.3 launch went initially well but its second stage later shutdown early losing two NASA TROPICS satellites. Courtesy: NASASpaceflight/Astra Space Inc

The latest launch failure caused the loss of two TROPICS satellites for NASA on 12 June. This was due to a second stage engine shut down. Observation cameras imaged a puff from the engine and then observed the stage begin to tumble. The result was that two hurricane monitoring TROPICS 1 and TROPICS 2, were lost as neither they, nor their attached second stage achieved orbital velocity and fell back into the Atlantic Ocean, close to the coast of West Africa. It is believed that the upper stage ran out of fuel prematurely.

While the launch before that was successful, this followed a failure in February which lost four small satellites, INCA, BAMA 1, QUBESAT and R5-S1 which were lost due to a clamshell fairing (which hold the second stage within it) failing to open properly, due to a separation mechanisms signal timing and damage issue (two harness channels had been miswired).  While Astra Space has over US$200 million in hand, it is continuing to bleed money. The company, which reported a net loss of $82.3 million for the second quarter.

 

About Seradata

Seradata produce the renowned SpaceTrak Launch & Satellite Database. Trusted by 100 of the world’s leading Space organisations, SpaceTrak is a fully queryable database used for market analysis, failure/risk assessment, spectrum analysis and space situational awareness (SSA).

For more information go to www.seradata.com/spacetrak

Related Articles

Another Astra rocket failure: this time two NASA TROPICS hurricane monitoring satellites are lost

After a two-hour delay due to a problem with the Liquid Oxygen storage/conditioning, Astra Space launched its Astra Rocket 3.3 Read more

On its return from mishap, Astra Space’s Astra Rocket 3.3 delivers its payloads into orbit (Updated & Corrected)

In a return to flight following a February launch failure, an Astra Space Rocket 3.3 (Astra Rocket 3.3) on flight Read more

Reasons for Feb 2022 Astra Rocket 3.3 launch failure revealed: duff technical drawing plus designers missing a weakness

The reasons have been revealed for the 20 February launch failure of the Astra Space Astra Rocket 3.3 (flight LV0008), Read more

American Astra Space and Taiwanese TiSPACE launch providers rebound from failures and plan further launches this year (Updated)

Two firms at different points along the process of developing an orbital rocket have outlined plans for their next launches. Read more

Astra Rocket 3.3 launch ends in failure after engine fault causes a bizarrely dithering lift-off

The Astra Space Inc, Rocket 3.3 executed what has to be one of the strangest "dithering" lift-offs ever witnessed, before Read more

Launch on 9 August: a Ceres-1 rocket flies successfully again on third flight

Galactic Energy of China launched the third Ceres-1 (aka Gushenxing-1) solid rocket four-stage launch vehicle successfully with its lift off Read more

Firefly to help build Antares 330 stage after Russian engine supply halted

Northrop Grumman Corporation and launch vehicle manufacturer Firefly Aerospace have joined forces to provide an American-built first-stage upgrade for the Read more

On a sadder note: Goodbye Lieutenant Uhura

Nichelle Nichols, the actress who played Lt Nyota Uhura, communications officer to the USS Enterprise, in the Star Trek science Read more

Categories

Archives