500 km from Earth, Astra Space puts a rocket into orbit for the first time

After several unsuccessful attempts, the start-up Astra Space has just placed a rocket of its own design in orbit for the first time. The craft was carrying a dummy payload during a test flight for the US Army.

Built by Astra Space startup, the 0007 launch vehicle (LV0007), from 13 meters high, took off from the Pacific Spaceport Complex on Kodiak Island, Alaska on Saturday, November 20 at 6:16 a.m. GMT. Nine minutes later, the upper floor of LV0007 went into orbit about 500 kilometers from Earth. This success is a first for the young company. Carolina Grossman, Director of Product Management at Astra, says “We are so proud of the LV0007. […] this represents a very important step« .

LV0007 rocket - Credit: NASASpaceflight LLC / Astra Space Inc.
LV0007 rocket – Credit: NASASpaceflight LLC / Astra Space Inc.

After three unsuccessful attempts, the young company has succeeded in taking a crucial step for its development: the launching of one of its rockets. We remember the many unsuccessful attempts of SpaceX before the success we know today. Elon Musk’s business even recently experienced a new lease of life.vs. Indeed, Starship prototype exploded on the ground earlier this year.

Astra Space: an ambitious start-up

Astra Space, which was founded in 2016, aims to acquire a large part of the small satellite launch market with its range of cost-effective and constantly evolving rockets. These launchers are designed to be responsive and flexible. The start-up also aims to provide equipment compact and easy to transport. Indeed, the entire Astra launch system can be transported in some containers standard shipping.

The company already has a number of clients, some of whom are important players in the conquest of space. Astra has also announced that it has signed a launch contract with the company Planet of San Francisco, which operates the largest fleet of observation satellites in the world. NASA has also chosen Astra Space to launch its TROPICS mission. This will study them hurricanes using six Cubesats microsatellites, which the company will put into orbit during three launches, planned for the first half of 2022.

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Source : space.com

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