Rocket launch start-up Astra had been trying to get DARPA a successful demonstration of its flexible space launch capabilities until earlier this month, but the company won’t try to launch the rocket this week as planned,media outlet TechCrunch reported. The company’s “One of The Three” rocket encountered “abnormalities” in pre-launch testing, and it was scheduled to prepare for this week’s flight. The company is currently rescheduling the launch.
Astra’s launch vehicle, One of Three, was unusual after a successful one-day test in the Kodiak Islands, which was scheduled to prepare for this week’s launch. Chris Kemp, Ceo and Founder of Astra, explained by email. “Fortunately, the only damage is our own hardware, and our team is already working to identify the root cause so that we can improve the rocket design. Due to yesterday’s anomaly, we will not try to launch again this week. We do intend to arrange another launch of the Kodiak when the outbreak of the new coronavirus improves and to resolve the cause of yesterday’s incident. “
The Astra launch will take place at the Kodiak launch complex at the Pacific Spaceport complex in Alaska. The company faced challenges in weather conditions that led to the expiration of its attempt to win a $2 million DARPA bonus in early March, but Monday’s anomaly was related to the rocket hardware itself and to external conditions. Mark Lester, chief executive of Alaska Aerospace, said that while the emergency response caused by the anomaly was over, “the area remains dangerous and should be avoided.” “
In a statement sent to TechCrunch, Kemp also cited the current new coronavirus crisis, which does not appear to pose any technical problems, but the ongoing global pandemic seems certain to affect any attempted working hours involving repairs or rescheduling launches.