Astra Launch Vehicle 0010 (LV0010) Rocket Fails During Launch, 2 NASA Satellites Worth USD30 Million Missing

Astra Launch Vehicle 0010 (LV0010) Rocket Fails During Launch, 2 NASA Satellites Worth USD30 Million Missing
Astra Launch Vehicle 0010 (LV0010) Rocket Fails During Launch

Florida - The launch of the Astra Launch Vehicle 0010 (LV0010) rocket, suffered a major failure after liftoff from Cape Canaveral Space Base in Florida, Sunday 12 June 2022 at 13:43 local time.

This failure resulted in the loss of two of NASA's first TROPICS cubesat satellites for tracking storms. The two NASA cubesat satellites are the first in a fleet of six satellites to be launched as part of the $30 million mission.

Quoted from, Astra officials via Twitter said the two satellites were lost after the Astra stage 2 rocket failed to reach orbit due to damage shortly after launch. “We have expressed our regrets to @NASA and the payload team. Further information will be provided once we have completed a full data review.

The LV0010 Astra rocket mission carried the first satellite from NASA's Time-Resolved Observations of Precipitation structure and storm Intensity with a Constellation of Smallsats (TROPICS). It was the first of three TROPICS missions planned this year by Astra.

Each launch carries two NASA cubesats the size of a loaf of bread, to perfect the constellation of storm watchers. The agreement to deliver 3 TROPICS Astra missions with NASA is worth a total of USD7.95 million.

"TROPICS will provide us with a very frequent view of tropical cyclones, provide insight into their formation, intensification, and interactions with their environment and provide critical data for storm monitoring and forecasting," said Scott Braun, research meteorologist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center at NASA. Greenbelt, Maryland, before launch.

Using three pairs of TROPICS satellites, each in a different orbit, NASA hopes to monitor tropical storms and storms on an hourly basis. It's unclear if NASA will still be able to carry out monitoring with just four satellites, perhaps the two lost in today's launch failure will be replaced.

The failed launch on Sunday 12 June 2022 was Astra's second accident in 2022. In February, the California-based company failed to launch four NASA cubesats as part of the ELaNa 41 mission.

It is thought that a problem with the rocket's payload fairing was the cause of the launch failure. “The first stage flight is normal; however, the upper stage engines shut down early and we did not send our payload into orbit,” said Amanda Durk Frye of Astra, senior manager for stage one and engine production, at the live launch.

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