Rocket launch company Astra isn’t starting out with the best track record, after its latest mission for NASA ended in failure — just a few months after its last rocket carrying payloads for the agency failed to reach orbit.
The TROPICS mission included two CubeSats intended to join NASA’s existing constellation by the same name. Astra Rocket 3.3 launch vehicle took off as planned from Florida’s Cape Canaveral on Sunday, but despite what Astra characterized as good first-stage performance, the second stage encountered a problem and shut down prior to delivering its payload to their intended orbit.
We had a nominal first stage flight. The upper stage shut down early and we did not deliver the payloads to orbit. We have shared our regrets with @NASA and the payload team. More information will be provided after we complete a full data review.
— Astra (@Astra) June 12, 2022
Astra did have a successful orbital launch in March, using the same iteration of its launch vehicle, for customer Spaceflight, Inc. That mission took off from Kodiak, Alaska. Astra has yet to fly a successful mission from Florida.
The company went public via a SPAC merger in 2021, and its share price is down nearly 24% ahead of market open.