Author Topic: Astra Space  (Read 262983 times)

Offline Zed_Noir

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Re: Astra Space
« Reply #740 on: 06/12/2022 06:32 pm »
With the failure of the TROPICS flight 1 due to premature shutdown of the Rocket 3.3 upper stage on June 12th. Wonder if NASA will go ahead with TROPICS flight 2 and TROPICS flight 3 on Rocket 3.3?

Online Conexion Espacial

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Re: Astra Space
« Reply #741 on: 06/13/2022 05:25 am »
With the failure of the TROPICS flight 1 due to premature shutdown of the Rocket 3.3 upper stage on June 12th. Wonder if NASA will go ahead with TROPICS flight 2 and TROPICS flight 3 on Rocket 3.3?
They must continue and now Astra is obliged not to fail the other two launches so that the TROPICS constellation can be saved.
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Offline Zed_Noir

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Re: Astra Space
« Reply #742 on: 06/13/2022 06:10 am »
With the failure of the TROPICS flight 1 due to premature shutdown of the Rocket 3.3 upper stage on June 12th. Wonder if NASA will go ahead with TROPICS flight 2 and TROPICS flight 3 on Rocket 3.3?
They must continue and now Astra is obliged not to fail the other two launches so that the TROPICS constellation can be saved.
AIUI NASA need 4 working satellites in orbit for the TROPICS constellation to be functional. So NASA will have to make a decision if they want to roll the dice on the next TROPICS flight on Astra Space's Rocket 3.3 or make other launch arrangements.

Offline PM3

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Re: Astra Space
« Reply #743 on: 06/13/2022 07:16 am »
AIUI NASA need 4 working satellites in orbit for the TROPICS constellation to be functional. So NASA will have to make a decision if they want to roll the dice on the next TROPICS flight on Astra Space's Rocket 3.3 or make other launch arrangements.

Or build more of those satellites if another launch fails? TROPICS needs a dedicated launch because of special orbit. Switching the two remaining launches to an Electron could be more expensive than building two more cubesats if another Astra fails.

And so far nothing went wrong for NASA. The contract with Astra is to bring four satellites to orbit and try to launch another two. The try failed, the two successful launches are still to be fulfilled. Reliability of the rocket should increase over time, so the failure of first Tropics launch was the most probable outcome for the minimum mission requirement case. Don't think NASA has the option to back out of this contract now.
« Last Edit: 06/13/2022 07:31 am by PM3 »
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Offline Skyrocket

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Re: Astra Space
« Reply #744 on: 06/13/2022 07:23 am »
AIUI NASA need 4 working satellites in orbit for the TROPICS constellation to be functional. So NASA will have to make a decision if they want to roll the dice on the next TROPICS flight on Astra Space's Rocket 3.3 or make other launch arrangements.

Or build more of those satellites if another launch fails? TROPICS needs a dedicated launch because of special orbit. Switching the two remaining launches to an Electron could be more expensive than building two more cubesats if another Astra fails.

And so far nothing went wrong for NASA. The contract with Astra is to bring four satellites to orbit and try to launch another two. The try failed, the two successful launches are still to be fulfilled. Reliability of the rocked should increase over time, so the failure of first Tropics launch was the most probable outcome for the minimum mission requirement case. Don't think NASA has the option to back out of this contract now.

Indeed - the orbit leaves few alternatives. Originally there were 4 other bidders on this contract:
* Rocket Lab Electron (too expensive)
* Virgin Orbit LauncherOne (much too expensive)
* SpaceX Starship (untested launch vehicle, unsure schedule, still more expensive than Astra)
* Momentus Vigoride (did not meet the specifications)

Offline lightleviathan

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Re: Astra Space
« Reply #745 on: 06/13/2022 12:37 pm »
AIUI NASA need 4 working satellites in orbit for the TROPICS constellation to be functional. So NASA will have to make a decision if they want to roll the dice on the next TROPICS flight on Astra Space's Rocket 3.3 or make other launch arrangements.

Or build more of those satellites if another launch fails? TROPICS needs a dedicated launch because of special orbit. Switching the two remaining launches to an Electron could be more expensive than building two more cubesats if another Astra fails.

And so far nothing went wrong for NASA. The contract with Astra is to bring four satellites to orbit and try to launch another two. The try failed, the two successful launches are still to be fulfilled. Reliability of the rocked should increase over time, so the failure of first Tropics launch was the most probable outcome for the minimum mission requirement case. Don't think NASA has the option to back out of this contract now.

Indeed - the orbit leaves few alternatives. Originally there were 4 other bidders on this contract:
* Rocket Lab Electron (too expensive)
* Virgin Orbit LauncherOne (much too expensive)
* SpaceX Starship (untested launch vehicle, unsure schedule, still more expensive than Astra)
* Momentus Vigoride (did not meet the specifications)


Didn’t Astra say that the contract was for $8 million? An Electron launch could have costed less, or the same amount with greater reliability. It seems this only done because of NASA’s want to foster new launch companies, and the fact that LC-2 wasn’t ready.
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Offline Skyrocket

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Re: Astra Space
« Reply #746 on: 06/13/2022 12:53 pm »
Didn’t Astra say that the contract was for $8 million? An Electron launch could have costed less, or the same amount with greater reliability. It seems this only done because of NASA’s want to foster new launch companies, and the fact that LC-2 wasn’t ready.
A single Electron would not have put the satellites into 3 orbital planes.

Offline Rondaz

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Re: Astra Space
« Reply #747 on: 06/13/2022 02:11 pm »
Overview of #Astra's Rocket missions..

https://twitter.com/_rykllan/status/1536235145652588544

Offline XRZ.YZ

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Re: Astra Space
« Reply #748 on: 06/13/2022 04:01 pm »
If one of the next two launch failed.
It will be the end of this company.
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Online trimeta

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Re: Astra Space
« Reply #749 on: 06/13/2022 04:51 pm »
AIUI NASA need 4 working satellites in orbit for the TROPICS constellation to be functional. So NASA will have to make a decision if they want to roll the dice on the next TROPICS flight on Astra Space's Rocket 3.3 or make other launch arrangements.

Or build more of those satellites if another launch fails? TROPICS needs a dedicated launch because of special orbit. Switching the two remaining launches to an Electron could be more expensive than building two more cubesats if another Astra fails.

And so far nothing went wrong for NASA. The contract with Astra is to bring four satellites to orbit and try to launch another two. The try failed, the two successful launches are still to be fulfilled. Reliability of the rocket should increase over time, so the failure of first Tropics launch was the most probable outcome for the minimum mission requirement case. Don't think NASA has the option to back out of this contract now.

I wouldn't say nothing has gone wrong for NASA, but paying $15 million or whatever to get two Electron launches doesn't solve their "we'll only have four TROPICS satellites" problem. I'm sure they'd rather pay a similar amount to build two new 3U cubesats and purchase an extra launch from Astra, to restore the full TROPICS constellation. Or pay nothing extra and live with just four satellites (which I've heard is sufficient for the constellation, but surely six would give it greater capabilities).

Of course, that depends on NASA's confidence in Astra...I wouldn't be surprised if Return To Flight takes a bit longer than previously, to do a thorough investigation of Astra's entire process, not just this failure.

Online TrevorMonty

Re: Astra Space
« Reply #750 on: 06/13/2022 05:10 pm »
AIUI NASA need 4 working satellites in orbit for the TROPICS constellation to be functional. So NASA will have to make a decision if they want to roll the dice on the next TROPICS flight on Astra Space's Rocket 3.3 or make other launch arrangements.

Or build more of those satellites if another launch fails? TROPICS needs a dedicated launch because of special orbit. Switching the two remaining launches to an Electron could be more expensive than building two more cubesats if another Astra fails.

And so far nothing went wrong for NASA. The contract with Astra is to bring four satellites to orbit and try to launch another two. The try failed, the two successful launches are still to be fulfilled. Reliability of the rocket should increase over time, so the failure of first Tropics launch was the most probable outcome for the minimum mission requirement case. Don't think NASA has the option to back out of this contract now.

I wouldn't say nothing has gone wrong for NASA, but paying $15 million or whatever to get two Electron launches doesn't solve their "we'll only have four TROPICS satellites" problem. I'm sure they'd rather pay a similar amount to build two new 3U cubesats and purchase an extra launch from Astra, to restore the full TROPICS constellation. Or pay nothing extra and live with just four satellites (which I've heard is sufficient for the constellation, but surely six would give it greater capabilities).

Of course, that depends on NASA's confidence in Astra...I wouldn't be surprised if Return To Flight takes a bit longer than previously, to do a thorough investigation of Astra's entire process, not just this failure.
While NASA is up for replacement satellites shouldn't Astra be paying for replacement launch.

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Re: Astra Space
« Reply #751 on: 06/13/2022 05:54 pm »
Astra: Reminding you why people don't start launch companies in car shops all the time.
Although with the number of launcher companies there are now, it does kind of feel that way...

What I'm getting at is that it kind of feels like Astra's machining is very nearly, but not quite up to the aerospace standards it needs to be.
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Offline Jim

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Re: Astra Space
« Reply #752 on: 06/13/2022 06:15 pm »

What I'm getting at is that it kind of feels like Astra's machining is very nearly, but not quite up to the aerospace standards it needs to be.

The problems are not structural or mechanical.

Offline Asteroza

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Re: Astra Space
« Reply #753 on: 06/13/2022 10:57 pm »

What I'm getting at is that it kind of feels like Astra's machining is very nearly, but not quite up to the aerospace standards it needs to be.

The problems are not structural or mechanical.

Which implies either a software problem, an ops problem, or a design problem (not a manufacturing problem)?

Offline lightleviathan

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Re: Astra Space
« Reply #754 on: 06/14/2022 11:15 am »

What I'm getting at is that it kind of feels like Astra's machining is very nearly, but not quite up to the aerospace standards it needs to be.

The problems are not structural or mechanical.

Which implies either a software problem, an ops problem, or a design problem (not a manufacturing problem)?


I think that it’s a design problem, there is no reason for having only 2 successes out of 5 launches of Rocket 3.3, and if you include previous revisions it looks even worse for them. I think Rocket 4 will be better.
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Offline Jim

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Re: Astra Space
« Reply #755 on: 06/14/2022 12:24 pm »

What I'm getting at is that it kind of feels like Astra's machining is very nearly, but not quite up to the aerospace standards it needs to be.

The problems are not structural or mechanical.

Which implies either a software problem, an ops problem, or a design problem (not a manufacturing problem)?


I think that it’s a design problem, there is no reason for having only 2 successes out of 5 launches of Rocket 3.3, and if you include previous revisions it looks even worse for them. I think Rocket 4 will be better.

It doesn't have to be a hardware design problem

Software can be a design problem and it could be trajectory or control issue.

Offline southshore26

Re: Astra Space
« Reply #756 on: 06/14/2022 05:29 pm »
If one of the next two launch failed.
It will be the end of this company.

I'm going to make this into a jpeg for when people ask me why I lurk in L2 most of the time.

Offline Steven Pietrobon

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Re: Astra Space
« Reply #757 on: 06/15/2022 05:09 am »
Scout also had a poor early launch record. The first 30 launches had 13 failures and 1 partial failure!

https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=44689.msg2377201#new

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Online TrevorMonty

Re: Astra Space
« Reply #758 on: 06/15/2022 10:56 am »
Scout also had a poor early launch record. The first 30 launches had 13 failures and 1 partial failure!

https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=44689.msg2377201#new
Was it government funded?. I doubt private investors  would keep funding at this failure rate.
« Last Edit: 06/16/2022 12:13 am by zubenelgenubi »

Offline edzieba

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Re: Astra Space
« Reply #759 on: 06/15/2022 12:11 pm »
Scout also had a poor early launch record. The first 30 launches had 13 failures and 1 partial failure!

https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=44689.msg2377201#new
Was it government funded?. I doubt private investors  would keep funding at this failure rate.

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As Astra received funding via a SPAC merger, they have a half billion dollar cash reserve which investors provided sight-unseen. That's a lot of on-ramp for Astra to pursue a riskier development strategy (rather than more ground testing before flying) without needing to court investors again until they have a system demonstrating reliable operation.

If you mean Scout, it was a NACA programme with LTV as the prime contractor, at least to start with. It became a grab-bag of variants and derivates developed and used by different agencies.

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