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Rocket maker Astra Space is heading towards its first launch since the company went public and aims to reach orbit for the first time.
The new space company cut short its first launch attempt on Friday, with the rocket’s engines turning on for a moment and then shutting down.
Astra launches its LV0006 rocket from the Pacific Spaceport Complex in Kodiak, Alaska. The launch is the first to carry a paying customer for Astra, the US Space Force has contracted a launch to test payloads as part of its space testing program.
The vehicle is 43 feet tall and fits into the small rocket segment of the launch market. Astra aims to launch several of its small rockets per day by 2025 and lower its price further by $ 2.5 million.
Saturday’s mission, after Astra abandons Friday’s launch attempt, tests various upgrades to Astra’s rocket since its last mission in December. As this previous mission reached space, the rocket ran out of fuel and only arrived shortly before reaching orbit.
LV0006 at the Kodiak launch pad, Alaska.
Astra’s window for this launch lasts 15 days until September 11, so Astra can postpone Saturday’s attempt if necessary. A delayed rocket launch attempt, known in the industry as a scrub, can be caused by a variety of reasons, from bad weather to a technical problem.
Astra has partnered with NASA Spaceflight – a space industry content organization not affiliated with the U.S. agency – to webcast the launch.
This is a developing story, please check for updates.