Author Topic: FAILURE : Astra Rocket 3.2 - Kodiak - December 15, 2020 (20:55 UTC)  (Read 30571 times)

Online FutureSpaceTourist

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https://twitter.com/astra/status/1339285061053468672

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Rocket 3.2 launched yesterday out of Kodiak, Alaska
 
A thread recapping our flight:

twitter.com/astra/status/1339285067198185473

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Rocket 3.2 had a clean lift-off at 12:55pm PT

https://twitter.com/astra/status/1339285073669996544

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Rocket 3.2 had a clean lift-off at 12:55pm PT

twitter.com/astra/status/1339285079370002433

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At T+57 seconds, Rocket 3.2 reached Max-Q

https://twitter.com/astra/status/1339285108071649282

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At T+145 to T+153, Rocket 3.2 crossed the Karman line entering outer space and successfully completed fairing separation, stage separation and upper stage ignition

twitter.com/astra/status/1339285162421407744

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The upper stage continued to burn for six minutes and 48 seconds, precisely reaching the target apogee of 380 km at 7.2 km/s. Rocket 3.2 then successfully sent a signal simulating deployment of a satellite

https://twitter.com/astra/status/1339285168285048832

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We will be sharing more details on our blog. In the meantime, for more photos from our launch, check out our Flickr account:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/astraphotos/
« Last Edit: 12/16/2020 06:09 pm by FutureSpaceTourist »

Offline abaddon

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Seems very fast for a liquid booster, wonder if they are planning on a stretch to take advantage of that oversized thrust/weight.

Congrats to Astra, a very encouraging success!

Offline Khadgars

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Congrats to Astra on great test flight!  Looking forward to 3.3!
Evil triumphs when good men do nothing - Thomas Jefferson

Offline edkyle99

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"FAILURE" in the title is definitely not what I would use.  Given that they didn't plan on actually making orbit until flight 3.3, this flight accomplished all of their planned objectives and then some.  Perhaps we can just change "FAILURE" to "Sub-orbital".
Their press kit explicitly listed a "TARGET ORBIT:  Inclination: 98.1 degrees, Altitude: 380 kilometers"

Rocket 3.2 fell short of orbit.  It was a good test flight, but it fell short of its stated goal.  That's a launch vehicle failure. 

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 12/16/2020 07:56 pm by edkyle99 »

Offline catdlr

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Re: Astra Rocket 3.2 - Kodiak - December 15, 2020 (20:55 UTC)
« Reply #104 on: 12/17/2020 02:14 am »
Seems like if SpaceX Starship was a success even though the final step failed, why couldn't we call this Astra flight a success (although partial) ??
« Last Edit: 12/17/2020 02:14 am by catdlr »
Tony De La Rosa

Offline matthewkantar

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Re: Astra Rocket 3.2 - Kodiak - December 15, 2020 (20:55 UTC)
« Reply #105 on: 12/17/2020 03:43 am »
Seems like if SpaceX Starship was a success even though the final step failed, why couldn't we call this Astra flight a success (although partial) ??

I think the answer is straight forward. SpaceX was conducting a test where the goal was to advance the state of knowledge of a novel strategy for EDL. The test accomplished that. Astra was trying to orbit a satellite, they didn't.

Am a big fan of Astra, am rooting for them, and they are getting there through a lot of adversity. Calling this a success is just obfuscation. With many dodgy space launch outfits out there, they are doing disservice to themselves by being anything but frank and honest.

Offline PM3

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"FAILURE" in the title is definitely not what I would use.  Given that they didn't plan on actually making orbit until flight 3.3, this flight accomplished all of their planned objectives and then some.  Perhaps we can just change "FAILURE" to "Sub-orbital".
Their press kit explicitly listed a "TARGET ORBIT:  Inclination: 98.1 degrees, Altitude: 380 kilometers"

Rocket 3.2 fell short of orbit.  It was a good test flight, but it fell short of its stated goal.  That's a launch vehicle failure. 

 - Ed Kyle

It was a failure as much as the last Starship test flight was a "failure". The objective for both was NOT a completely flawless flight, but to make a big progress towards that. Both checked in on that goal.

The customer of this flight was Astra themselves. Customer's wish was to make progress, customer is very happy about the result, that is not a failure.

Astra from the beginnig said that the goal is to make it to orbit within three launches. If Rocket 3.3 does not make it, that would be a failure.

Thread title should be "Partial success" IMHO.
"Never, never be afraid of the truth." -- Jim Bridenstine

Online Skyrocket

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"FAILURE" in the title is definitely not what I would use.  Given that they didn't plan on actually making orbit until flight 3.3, this flight accomplished all of their planned objectives and then some.  Perhaps we can just change "FAILURE" to "Sub-orbital".
Their press kit explicitly listed a "TARGET ORBIT:  Inclination: 98.1 degrees, Altitude: 380 kilometers"

Rocket 3.2 fell short of orbit.  It was a good test flight, but it fell short of its stated goal.  That's a launch vehicle failure. 

 - Ed Kyle

It was a failure as much as the last Starship test flight was a "failure". The objective for both was NOT a completely flawless flight, but to make a big progress towards that. Both checked in on that goal.

The customer of this flight was Astra themselves. Customer's wish was to make progress, customer is very happy about the result, that is not a failure.

Astra from the beginnig said that the goal is to make it to orbit within three launches. If Rocket 3.3 does not make it, that would be a failure.

Thread title should be "Partial success" IMHO.

There are a lot of shades of gray between perfect success and absolute failure. In my database for orbital lanches i usually discern between:
* Failure (did not reach orbit)
* partial Failure (did reach orbit, but payload is not usable, either because wrong orbit or damage to the payload)
* partial Success (did reach orbit, albeit not the correct one, payload is usable or can maneuver to correct orbit)
* Success (correct orbit reached, everything is fine)
* Recovery failure (successful launch, but recoverable part was not successfully recovered)

This classification is biased for flights with payload. Test flights without payload do not really fit into this schema.
I do agree, the Astra flight can be considered a qualified success, as it tested nearly all milestones, in my classification it is still listed as a failure. Not quite satisfactory.

For comparison, the Starship SN8 flight is listed as successful launch, but recovery failure.
« Last Edit: 12/17/2020 09:10 am by Skyrocket »

Offline lrk

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SpaceX claimed F1 flight 2 as a successful test, as did Rocketlab for Electron's first flight, even though both failed late in the second stage burn and didn't quite reach orbital velocity.  In fact I'm pretty sure Rocket 3.2 got closer than either of those.  So I wouldn't consider Astra calling this test a success to be any different. 

Yes it failed to reach orbit, but I also wouldn't count this failure against their eventual reliability record in the same way as a failure with paying customers when the rocket is considered operational.
« Last Edit: 12/17/2020 05:52 pm by lrk »

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https://astra.com/blog/space/

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ASTRA MAKES IT TO SPACE!
DECEMBER 17, 2020

December 15th, 2020 was a historic day for Astra and America, as we joined a small, elite group of privately funded companies that have made it to space. We couldn’t be more proud that our team accomplished this milestone in the face of so much adversity this year. Only three months after our last orbital launch attempt, we were back in Kodiak with the goal of a nominal first stage burn, followed by fairing separation and stage separation. We achieved all of these objectives and more!

Rocket 3.2 lifted off from the Alaskan coast on December 15th at 12:55 pm PT followed by more than two minutes of a successful first stage flight. A few seconds later, we completed a nominal stage separation and ignition of the upper stage, and blasted past the Kármán line, the border between Earth’s atmosphere and outer space. Almost seven minutes later, traveling over 16,000 miles per hour (Mach 21), Astra’s upper stage engine shut down nominally after depleting all of its fuel. Rocket 3.2 precisely achieved its target altitude of 380 kilometers at 7.2 km/sec… just short of orbital velocity of 7.68 km/sec.

Our data shows that all of the rocket’s hardware and software performed exceptionally well, and that only a small adjustment to the mixture ratio of fuel and oxidizer stands between us and our first customer payload delivery in a few months.  Most importantly, this means that Astra can immediately begin delivering for our customers. As of today, we have contracted over two dozen launches, representing over 100 spacecraft.  We are immediately executing our plan to ramp up of rocket production and launch operations.

Our next rocket is nearly complete and we’ll be identifying opportunities based on yesterday’s data on how to further improve the vehicle performance ahead of our next launch. This rapid iteration is unique to Astra and separates us from other launch providers in the industry.

To say that 2020 has been a challenge is an understatement and Astra has shared many of the struggles that much of the world has experienced this year. However, we are grateful to close out this year with the outcome of yesterday’s launch as well as being announced as one of NASA’s mission partners. It is more than we could’ve hoped for as a team. Thanks to our incredible team and their families, as well as our customers, suppliers, partners, investors and all of our fans!

Per Aspera Ad Astra!
Chris and Adam

« Last Edit: 12/18/2020 12:12 am by FutureSpaceTourist »

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