Space flight startup Astra plans to reach Terrapela’s orbit for the first time in early August. The company said on Monday (20) that its 11.6-meter-high Rocket 3.1 will be launched from the Pacific Spaceport Complex on Kodiak Island, Alaska, during a six-day window that will open on August 2.
The rocket was sent to the launch site last week after being tested twice at Astra’s California facility, the company’s headquarters. The tests were of static fire, which check the engines while the equipment is “tied” to the ground.
Originally, the company intended to arrive in orbit almost five months ago, with the predecessor of Rocket 3.1, named Rocket 3.0. The mission’s objective was to take four payloads to orbit, that would yield US $ 2 million to the company.
The money would come from the United States Defense Advanced Projects Research Agency (Darpa), which held a competition called the Darpa Launch Challenge to encourage the development of private rockets that could launch cargo efficiently in a short time.
However, on the day of takeoff, engineers noticed some problems that could be harmful to the equipment. Because of this, Rocket 3.0 remained on the ground and the money was not earned. Thus, the responsibility for the company’s first take-off rests with Rocket 3.1.
Obviously, there is no guarantee that this launch will be successful. Chris Kemp, CEO of Astra, stated that, in general, debut flights are never right. The company has not announced what serious payloads will be taken. However, they should only be taken on the next Rocket 3.1 flight, if any.
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