The American company Astra Space successfully launched a rocket. The rocket named “Launch Vehicle 0007” (LV0007) blasted off Saturday morning (local time) from Kodiak Island off the coast of Alaska and reached an altitude of 500 km and thus orbit.
The payload was used for the US Army for testing purposes. With this, the California-based startup has put an end to a string of previous failed startup attempts and is now hoping to enter the commercial teleports sector.
The first attempt to launch the Astra Space in March 2020 failed when the DARPA competition aimed to demonstrate the company’s capabilities to meet the needs of the US military – the missile did not take off. In subsequent attempts there were difficulties with the missile guidance system and the amount of fuel. The last attempt in August of this year with the LV0006 resulted in an almost false start due to an engine failure and the missile taking off on a slope; Then it did not reach the desired height.
With a successful start, Astra Space is now one of the companies that has successfully launched a commercial rocket flight into orbit. Astra intends to launch satellites weighing up to 500 kg into low orbit and, in addition to Kodiak Island, operate additional launch sites. In addition to the more well-known company SpaceX, this group includes, among others, the company Rocket Lab, which has already completed several successful launches and is confident to grow into the largest competitor to SpaceX. SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket blasted off for the first time in early 2018 and launched a red Tesla spacecraft into space. Virgin Orbit also launched a rocket into orbit for the first time at the beginning of this year — albeit from an aircraft; Ten small satellites have been deployed there.
The opening recording can be watched on NASASpaceFlight’s YouTube channel (~1 hour and 44 minutes later):
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