"The problem we had was something we hadn't seen before."
Astra, a California-based rocket company still trying to reach orbit, has set an October 27 target date for its next attempt at the missile, simply called LV0007. It carries a trial cargo of several tens of kilograms for the US Air Force.
The stakes of this mission are high. Although the burden is small and may have relatively little monetary value, Astra must prove its viability as a startup after several setbacks. This will be the company's fourth attempt to reach orbit - while the other small competitors are either successfully in orbit or will soon make their first attempt. "Our team is looking forward to getting back on the journey. Learn more about our launch system, and learn the philosophy," said Chris Kemp, Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Astra, in a statement announcing the trip. As the name implies, this is the seventh Astra missile was built. For orbital launch - after about 30 seconds due to guidance failure. The flight took place in September 2020. On the next attempt in December 2020, LV0005 went into space but did not have enough thrust to reach orbit. p> Third attempt of the Astra orbital launch.
Although technically a failure, this second flight demonstrated the full performance of the first stage, stage separation and second engine, assuring Astra that it would reach orbit on its third flight. p> p>
So expectations were high on August 28, 2021, when the LV0006 counted its effort, but the launch was almost from the moment the engines ignited, with the rocket moving more horizontally and vertically. Move before it corrects itself and follows the upward path. After 148 seconds, the safety officer stopped the flight after exiting the launch lane.Advertising
In a blog post released Tuesday morning, Astra Chief Engineer Benjamin Lyon provided more information about the failure, and the company assured the company that it would not happen again. "The problem we ran into was something we hadn't seen before," Leon wrote. “Up to the launch stage, the first stage supplies the missile’s thrust distribution system with fuel and oxidizer. We have designed the system so that it cuts off and shuts down quickly when the missile takes off. In this launch, thrust leaks out of the system.”Read more in Astra, failure is one option
At this point, the output of five rocket motors burned out the thrust, which was mixed. In turn, he disconnected the electronic components of the fuel pump, causing one of the rocket engines to shut down in a split second after the booster was lifted. This effectively suspended the missile before compensating the aircraft's flight program, allowing the missile to fly higher. However, the remaining four engines did not have enough power to increase the rocket in orbit.
Astra has redesigned the rocket fuel system so that kerosene and liquid oxygen oxidizer cannot mix, Leon said. It has also been modified to reduce the risk of leakage during the refueling process. "We believe these changes will significantly reduce the likelihood of seeing a similar event in the future," Lyon said. Zoom/Launch Astra from a small spacecraft in Kodiak, Alaska. Astra / John Kraus
And so Astra returns to its launch site in Kodiak, Alaska this month on its fourth attempt to reach orbit. The company has an initial launch window from October 27 to October 31, and the backup opportunity runs from November 5 to November 12. Company shares on July 1. Since then, the company's stock has fallen nearly 50%. A successful launch, credibility of the Astra missile technology, and a significant acceleration of future developments are likely to help boost stock prices.
Astra explains previous failure, sets October date for next launch attempt
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