The private spaceflight startup Astra on Monday called off its first attempt to launch a rocket since a failed flight last month due to the risk of lightning at its Alaska liftoff site.
Astra scrubbed the attempted launch of its Astra-1 mission Monday (March 14) at Pad LP-3B at the Pacific Spaceport Complex on Alaska’s Kodiak Island after the foul weather thwarted a liftoff during a 27-minute window that opened at 12:22 p.m. EDT (9:22 a.m. PDT/1622 GMT). The next launch attempt is set for Tuesday, March 15, at the same time.
The Astra-1 mission will launch Astra’s LV0009 Rocket 3 vehicle, which is carrying three payloads for customer Spaceflight Inc. Those include the S4 Crossover technology demonstrator for company NearSpace Launch, which will remain attached to Astra’s Rocket 3 upper stage and test hardware for a host platform to support a variety of payloads in the future. Astra-1 will also launch the Portland State Aerospace Society’s OreSat0 cubesat, a small satellite built by students at Portland State University in Oregon that will be used to refine designs for a follow-on cubesat to study cirrus clouds for climate research.
The upcoming launch is the first of three planned flights for Spaceflight Inc. through 2025 by Astra under a deal announced by the company on Monday.
Astra-1 is also Astra’s first flight since the company’s LV0008 Rocket failed to reach orbit on Feb. 10 while launching a mission for NASA’s Educational Launch of Nanosatellites (ELaNa) initiative. It was the company’s first attempted launch from a new pad in Florida at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.
Astra traced the failure to the 43-foot-tall (13 meters) Rocket 3 booster’s payload fairing (its nose cone) and a software issue related to the vehicle’s upper stage engine thrust vector control. Those issues were apparently resolved for the LV0009’s Rocket, leading to Monday’s launch attempt.