Shares of Astra Space (ASTR) plunged by 24 percent on Monday following the company’s latest launch failure the day before.
Astra Space shares are currently trading at $1.54 on the Nasdaq stock exchange. They closed at $2.02 on Friday before rising to $2.14 in after-hours trading.
Astra Space suffered its fifth orbital launch failure in seven attempts when the second stage of its Rocket 3.3 booster shut down prematurely less than one minute before its engine was to have completed its orbital insertion burn. Two NASA Time-Resolved Observations of Precipitation structure and storm Intensity with a Constellation of Smallsats (TROPICS) spacecraft that were part of a constellation designed to study tropical cyclones were lost in the accident.
The Alameda, Calif.-based company has a contract with NASA for two additional launches that would carry four TROPICS satellites later this year. Those launches will be postponed while Astra Space conducts an investigation into the launch failure.
NASA has said that the TROPICS mission can go forward effectively with only four of the six satellites in orbit.
WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — While we are disappointed in the loss of the two TROPICS CubeSats, the mission is part of NASA’s Earth venture program, which provides opportunities for lower-cost, higher risk missions. Despite a loss of the first two of six satellites, the TROPICS constellation will still meet its science objectives with the four remaining CubeSats distributed in two orbits. With four satellites, TROPICS will still provide improved time-resolved observations of tropical cyclones compared to traditional observing methods.
The second stage of an Astra Space Rocket 3.3 rocket failed less than a minute before planned shutdown on Sunday, sending two NASA TROPICS mission satellites plunging into the atmosphere instead of entering orbit.
Update: The launch aboard an Astra Space Rocket 3.3 booster failed after the vehicle’s second stage shut down prematurely on Sunday. NASA said in an update that the TROPICS constellation can still improve the monitoring of tropical cyclones with four satellites. Astra Space has the contract to launch the four additional TROPICS spacecraft on two launches.
By Sofie Bates NASA’s Earth Science News Team
NASA is launching the first two of six small satellites no earlier than June 12 that will study the formation and development of tropical cyclones almost every hour – about four to six times more often than is possible with current satellites. This is the first of three CubeSat launches for NASA’s Time-Resolved Observations of Precipitation structure and storm Intensity with a Constellation of Smallsats (TROPICS) mission. The remaining satellites will be placed into their orbits during two subsequent launches this year. If successful, the TROPICS satellites will be spread across three orbital planes to cover more of the globe more frequently.
Astra Space is scheduled to launch NASA’s TROPICS-1 mission on Sunday, June 12 from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. The launch window opens at 12 p.m. EDT. A livestream of the launch will begin at T-30 minutes: http://astra.com/livestream#AdAstra
CAPE CANAVERAL SPACE FORCE STATION, Fla. (NASA PR) — Astra Space Inc. is targeting no earlier than June 12, pending issuance of a launch license from the Federal Aviation Administration, for the first launch of NASA’s Time-Resolved Observations of Precipitation structure and storm Intensity with a Constellation of Smallsats (TROPICS), a constellation of six CubeSats. Two CubeSats, each about the size of a loaf of bread, will launch aboard Astra’s Rocket 3.3 from Space Launch Complex 46 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.
Astra Space scrubbed the ninth launch of its Rocket 3.3 booster from the Pacific Spaceport Complex –Alaska on Monday due to bad weather. The company is now targeting Tuesday, March 15 at 9:22 AM PDT (12:22 p.m. EDT) for the Astra-1 mission for Spaceflight Inc. Live stream will begin at T-45 minutes at astra.com/livestream.
Video Caption: Astra’s first commercial launch ELaNa 41 was also their first from Florida, unfortunately after a successful first stage flight the second stage was trapped by a payload fairing which wouldn’t open.
Let’s look at the footage and see if we can figure out what happened.
Astra Space’s first attempt to place satellites into orbit failed on Thursday, with the company’s Rocket 3.3 tumbling out of control after ignition of the booster’s second stage. Astra’s stock (ASTR) plunged by as more than 31 percent to a low of $3.59 before recovering to $3.91 in after-hours trading.
Astra Space stock sunk after the company’s Rocket 3.3 booster suffered a last-second abort as its first-stage engines began to fire. Words is the company will attempt to once again launch four CubeSats from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station on Wednesday.
Launch Date Set for NASA CubeSat Mission Aboard Astra Space’s Rocket 3.3
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — NASA’s first mission under the agency’s Venture Class Launch Services (VCLS) Demonstration 2 contract is scheduled to launch four CubeSats to space no earlier than Feb. 5, 2022. The CubeSats, which make up the agency’s 41st Educational Launch of Nanosatellites (ELaNa) mission, will be the first VCLS launch from Space Launch Complex 46 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida and Astra Space Inc’s first operational satellite launch aboard its Rocket 3.3.