Astra reaches orbit, Russia endangers the ISS & more top stories

This week we saw a significant milestone for the launch provider Astra but were also reminded how far we are from ensuring safe access to space for everyone. Read the top stores from space below.

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Astra successfully reaches orbit for the first time early Saturday morning

Fourth time’s the charm for Astra! It has successfully reached orbit with its Rocket 3.3 vehicle, serial number LV0007. This mission follows the “powerslide launch” in which an engine failure lead to a terminated flight.

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Confirmed: Astra to launch from SLC-46 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station

A new permit application confirms rumors of Astra launching from Launch Complex 46 as soon as late 2021 or early 2022. The previous launch from SLC-46 was the Orion Ascent Abort 2 test for the Artemis program.

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Astra, Hughes Net, Inmarsat, and Telesat all file for satellite constellations; Boeing constellation approved

Numerous companies have filed applications to create satellite constellations in low Earth orbit. The filings come as the deadline for the FCC’s second processing round for the V-band comes tonight.

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Astra misses orbit again, SpaceX and Blue Original launch, leaked anti-SpaceX emails from ULA & more top stories

This week Astra launched their 5th test rocket which didn’t reach orbit again, both SpaceX and Blue Origin launched missions for NASA, and emails possibly leaked from ULA show their dark side.

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Watch Astra’s Rocket recover from an insane lateral liftoff due to engine failure

Saturday Astra attempted their 5th test flight of one of their smallsat launchers from Kodiak Island, Alaska. While Astra’s Rocket 3.3 did not make it to space this time, it did give watchers a show when it slightly recovered after an engine failure.

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[Update: Anomaly during flight, launch concluded] Astra attempting first payload to orbit on 4th Rocket 3 launch

Astra plans to launch their first commercial mission on top of their Rocket 3 vehicle. While the rocket has yet to reach orbit, the issue that caused the shortcoming was very minor and Astra is confident it will make it to orbit this time on this 4th launch. The payload on this mission will be the first of 2 demonstration missions for the US Space Force named STP-27AD1. This mission will be the companies first launch of the year.

Date: Friday, August 28th at 6:35 p.m. EDT

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Astra Space now publically tradable on the NASDAQ

Starting today Astra Space shares are live on the NASDAQ after merging with the special purpose acquisition company Holicity. Astra planes to use the money to grow their rocket production facilities and team.

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Launch company Astra hires former Tesla automation lead to boost rocket production

Astra, an up-and-coming launch company that will soon compete with SpaceX, announced today that former Tesla automation lead Pablo Gonzalez to help scale the production of their rockets. This comes not long after Astra hired a former Apple Car project lead to be Astra’s Chief Engineer.

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Rocket launch company Astra poaches elite Apple Car team member for chief engineer role

Today California-based small satellite launcher Astra announced that Benjamin Lyon is joining their team as their new Chief Engineer. Lyon leaves his position as Apple’s Senior Director of the Special Projects Group, the team that brought the company many of its greatest innovations. According to Bloomberg, Lyon most recently worked on Apple’s car team.

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Trading Space: After reaching space, Astra aims for NASDAQ

Launch service startup Astra successfully reached space with its Rocket 3.2 vehicle for the first time in December. Now the satellite launch company is setting its sights on a new target: the New York Stock Exchange. Astra plans to join the small but growing list of publicly traded space companies this year.

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NASA smallsat launch contract selection statement pulls no punches on provider readiness

NASA tapped Astra, Firefly, and Relativity Space for its Venture Class Launch Services Demo 2 program, giving each company a contract to launch a group of smallsats into orbit to demonstrate the capabilities of their new vehicles. NASA didn’t share their reasoning for the selections or who else submitted proposals in that announcement. This information is found in a source selection statement published later in the month that addresses each company’s strengths and weaknesses.

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Astra reaches space for the first time with Rocket 3.2 launch

Astra has worked all year to send its rocket to space, and the small satellite launch company finally pulled it off on Tuesday. Astra’s Rocket 3.2 vehicle lifted off from Astra Spaceport at the Pacific Spaceport Complex in Kodiak, Alaska, and passed the Karman line for the first time.

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NASA awards launch contracts to three companies through its Launch Services Program

As part of its Launch Services Program (LSP), NASA has awarded Venture Class Launch Services Demonstration 2 (VCLS Demo 2) contracts to three different companies. Those three companies and the fixed-price of their contracts are as follows:

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Astra hopes to go orbital on next rocket launch attempt from Alaska as soon as December 10

Back in early March, a small satellite launch company called Astra attempted to launch its first orbital rocket as part of the DARPA Launch Challenge. Launch conditions weren’t cooperative, however, and the launch attempt was scrubbed. Months later, Astra returned to Kodiak, Alaska, for another launch attempt.

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Watch Astra’s first DARPA Launch Challenge attempt from Alaska [Update: Scrubbed]

A $2 million prize is at stake today for the DARPA Launch Challenge attempt from Pacific Spaceport Complex Alaska on Kodiak Island.

DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, designed the challenge to help discover companies demonstrating “new and groundbreaking capabilities to address emerging Department of Defense needs.” California-based Astra is tasked with today’s launch which, if successfull, will be the first of three cash prize-winning launches.

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