Astra’s first rocket launch since it the company went public wasn’t exactly the success the company hoped for. An engine failing to fire a second into the launch caused the rocket to hover sideways before attempting to reach orbit. The flight safety crew purposely stalled the engines 2 minutes and 28 seconds into the flight after a piece of the rocket appeared to break off.
Before returning to earth it had reached an altitude of 31 miles.
The two-stage Launch Vehicle 0006 (or LV0006) was originally scheduled to launch from the Pacific Spaceport Complex in Kodiak, Alaska on Friday, August 27. That launch was delayed until August 28 after the rocket’s guidance system called an abort. According to Space the initial abort was due to an engine configuration issue.
While the second launch attempt failed to reach orbit Astra CEO Chris Kemp seemed optimistic when speaking to CNBC. “It was obviously not successful at putting anything in orbit, but it was a flight where we learned a tremendous amount.” He noted that the attempt contributed a “tremendous amount of data” that would be reviewed and that Astra planned to use what it had learned and apply it to the LV0007 currently in production.
On Twitter Kemp noted the engine failed to fire but said he was “incredibly proud” of the Astra team for its performance during the launch.
Reviewing flight data and video, two things are very clear - 1) An engine shut down right after launch 2) Everything that happened next made me incredibly proud of our team. Space may be hard, but like this rocket, we are not giving up. #AdAstra pic.twitter.com/2g3n812EaW— Chris Kemp (@Kemp) August 29, 2021
You can watch the entire launch here.