Author Topic: CANCELLED : Astra R3.3 - LV0011 - TROPICS Flight 2 - CCSFS SLC-46  (Read 10578 times)

Online lrk

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Is it possible that the remaining satellites could fly on a single launch of Rocket 4.0?

Offline AmigaClone

Is it possible that the remaining satellites could fly on a single launch of Rocket 4.0?

Possible, yes. I can see NASA desiring to see a couple of consecutive successful flights before launching the remaining four Tropics satellites.

Granted, that might depend on how soon Astra can develop their Rocket 4.0 and get it operational.

Online TrevorMonty

Is it possible that the remaining satellites could fly on a single launch of Rocket 4.0?
Depends if they are all going into same orbit.
« Last Edit: 08/08/2022 09:50 pm by zubenelgenubi »

Online FutureSpaceTourist

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https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/1556678106030567425

Quote
At a NASA town hall at the #Smallsat conference this morning, the agency says it’s “still looking for a ride” for the four remaining TROPICS cubesats that were to launch on Astra’s Rocket 3.3. Astra said last week it’s in discussions with NASA, but Rocket 4 would be a poor fit.

Offline jstrotha0975

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What is the mass of the TROPICS satellites?

Offline Bean Kenobi

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What is the mass of the TROPICS satellites?

3U cubesat, 5,3 kg.

Offline su27k

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NASA looking for new launch of remaining TROPICS cubesats

Quote from: SpaceNews
Agency sources said Astra’s announcement that the company was discontinuing the Rocket 3.3 took them by surprise. Switching vehicles poses cost and schedule challenges that NASA is still studying.

However, even before the announcement, NASA was looking into alternative options while awaiting the outcome of the investigation into the June launch failure.

Offline Sam Ho

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Cross-post: the remaining TROPICS launch(es) will be competed under VADR:
https://www.nasa.gov/feature/nasa-maintains-contractual-relationship-with-astra-presses-forward-with-tropics-mission

Quote
Sep 22, 2022

NASA Maintains Contractual Relationship with Astra, Presses Forward with TROPICS Mission

Recognizing the urgent science needs, NASA is adjusting its launch services plan to complete the timely launch of a CubeSat constellation designed to improve understanding of tropical cyclones.

The agency’s Time-Resolved Observations of Precipitation structure and storm Intensity with a Constellation of Smallsats (TROPICS) mission launch service now will be competed under the agency’s Venture-Class Acquisition of Dedicated and Rideshare (VADR) IDIQ contract targeting the 2023 hurricane season.

NASA and Astra also have agreed to modify its existing launch services contract, originally planned for the agency’s TROPICS constellation, for the launch of comparable scientific payloads on Astra’s Rocket 4.0 in the future.

NASA selected commercial partner Astra in 2021 to provide launch services for TROPICS across three launches using the company’s Rocket 3.3 launch vehicle. On June 12, 2022, after a nominal first-stage flight, the upper stage of Astra’s Rocket 3.3 shut down early and failed to deliver the first two TROPICS CubeSats to orbit. NASA currently is participating in the launch investigation, led by Astra and the Federal Aviation Administration.

Following the first TROPICS launch attempt, Astra and NASA engaged in discussions regarding the remaining launch attempts. Astra then notified NASA of its intent to discontinue its Rocket 3.3 and indicated the company would potentially not resume launches prior to the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season. The VADR contract allows the 13 companies selected this year to compete for the rebid of the TROPICS launch services, giving the agency and external stakeholders the ability to use TROPICS data sooner.

TROPICS is an Earth venture mission – science-driven, competitively selected, low-cost missions that provide opportunity for investment in innovative Earth science to enhance our capability to better understand the current state of the Earth system and to enable continual improvement in the prediction of future changes. NASA is committed to helping grow the U.S. commercial launch market while enabling the agency’s science missions. The VADR contract allows NASA to nurture the emerging commercial market by awarding launch providers more risk-tolerant payloads such as TROPICS.

Last Updated: Sep 28, 2022
Editor: James Cawley

Online TrevorMonty

Could RL launch remaining 4 satellites on single Electron. While satellites only mass a few kgs each they need to be deployed to 2 separate orbits. Don't know orbits in particular  or DV between them but probably to much for typical LEO Photon kick stage. Larger Capstone Photon on other hand has about 3km/s of DV available should be enough to handle change of orbits so all 4 satellites  can be deployed on single launch.

Would be more expensive launch but lot cheaper than 2 separate ones.

Offline ZachS09

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Could RL launch remaining 4 satellites on single Electron. While satellites only mass a few kgs each they need to be deployed to 2 separate orbits. Don't know orbits in particular  or DV between them but probably to much for typical LEO Photon kick stage. Larger Capstone Photon on other hand has about 3km/s of DV available should be enough to handle change of orbits so all 4 satellites  can be deployed on single launch.

Would be more expensive launch but lot cheaper than 2 separate ones.

Seems logical in my book. I support Electron doing the job.
Liftoff for St. Jude's! Go Dragon, Go Falcon, Godspeed Inspiration4!

Online edzieba

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IIRC Rocket Lab's bid for TROPICS was an Electron for each pair of satellites.

Online trimeta

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IIRC Rocket Lab's bid for TROPICS was an Electron for each pair of satellites.

Sure, but it's possible that Lunar Photon has enough delta-v to plane change once but not twice. So they can put four on one launch, but not six.

That said, unless someone wants to offer a >50% discount to launch on a brand new vehicle (and yes, I'm including SpaceX's bid to use Starship in this category), Rocket Lab can bid their sticker price for two launches and still win. So it's solely a matter of whether they want to show off Lunar Photon's capabilities. Which they may want to do, I'm not trying to dismiss this, but it won't be to lower their price and win the bid.

Offline AstroWare

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IIRC Rocket Lab's bid for TROPICS was an Electron for each pair of satellites.

Sure, but it's possible that Lunar Photon has enough delta-v to plane change once but not twice. So they can put four on one launch, but not six.

That said, unless someone wants to offer a >50% discount to launch on a brand new vehicle (and yes, I'm including SpaceX's bid to use Starship in this category), Rocket Lab can bid their sticker price for two launches and still win. So it's solely a matter of whether they want to show off Lunar Photon's capabilities. Which they may want to do, I'm not trying to dismiss this, but it won't be to lower their price and win the bid.

Are you sure they are planning to build replacements for the lost sats? If not, then this conversation is really only about 4 birds, not 6.

My understanding was they built 6, but the constellation was viable with 4. Right after the failure, they seemed to be okay launching just the next 4 without building replacements.

Maybe with the delay from changing providers, the other 2 are replaced. But I haven't seen anything definitive to that end.



---

Also, I think the <inclination> change is only once. And that is the costly dV maneuver.  From the launch site inclination TO the deployment inclination (30 Deg). Then two sats each in (originally three) different orbital planes.

*Edited above*

I claim no expertise in orbital mechanics, but I think that changing planes can be done slowly by drifting. Now what means either the satellite has a long enough orbital life and propulsion to do the maneuver, or your launcher has a high endurance upper stage to drift then deploy.

The photon of either variant should have the endurance for a drift/deploy mission. (I'm not speaking to the dV required)

The whole 4 sat mission would look like:
Launch (parking orbit)
Inclination Reduction maneuver
Deploy (2)
Maneuver to drift orbit
*Drift*
Maneuver to deployment orbit
Deploy (2)
« Last Edit: 10/19/2022 03:11 pm by AstroWare »

Offline AstroWare

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Fun fact I didn't know until today: There are actually (7) Tropics satellites. A pathfinder (Tropics-01) was launched on Transporter-2 from the Stage 2 aft deployer.

Online trimeta

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IIRC Rocket Lab's bid for TROPICS was an Electron for each pair of satellites.

Sure, but it's possible that Lunar Photon has enough delta-v to plane change once but not twice. So they can put four on one launch, but not six.

That said, unless someone wants to offer a >50% discount to launch on a brand new vehicle (and yes, I'm including SpaceX's bid to use Starship in this category), Rocket Lab can bid their sticker price for two launches and still win. So it's solely a matter of whether they want to show off Lunar Photon's capabilities. Which they may want to do, I'm not trying to dismiss this, but it won't be to lower their price and win the bid.

Are you sure they are planning to build replacements for the lost sats? If not, then this conversation is really only about 4 birds, not 6.

My understanding was they built 6, but the constellation was viable with 4. Right after the failure, they seemed to be okay launching just the next 4 without building replacements.

Maybe with the delay from changing providers, the other 2 are replaced. But I haven't seen anything definitive to that end.
Where did I suggest that NASA is building another two satellites, and will again be soliciting for six, rather than four payloads? In fact, I was trying to contrast the original bid for six (where perhaps Rocket Lab would have been unable to launch three separate clusters on a single rocket, hence their original bid edzieba mentioned) with a hypothetical solicitation to carry four satellites (where Rocket Lab could do it with a single launch).

Online TrevorMonty

NASA must of allowed for at least one launch failure  as new LV like Rocket 3.0 was always high risk.

NASA iisn't building replacements, only 4 to launch. They want them deployed soon and reliably so I doubt risking them on another new LV.


Offline AstroWare

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Where did I suggest that NASA is building another two satellites, and will again be soliciting for six, rather than four payloads?

Sure, but it's possible that Lunar Photon has enough delta-v to plane change once but not twice. So they can put four on one launch, but not six.

I read your quote above in the present tense. "So they can put four on one launch, but [can not put] six".

But what you meant was "So they can put four on one launch, but [could not have put] six".

But I understand your clarification, and it sounds like we are in violent agreement :)
« Last Edit: 10/19/2022 08:46 pm by AstroWare »

Online FutureSpaceTourist

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NASA has announced the two remaining TROPICS cubesat missions will be launched by Rocket Lab on Electron, NET 1 May 2023:

https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=57739.0

[Edit to correct 2 cubesat missions, not 2 cubesats]
« Last Edit: 11/23/2022 11:15 pm by FutureSpaceTourist »

Offline Bean Kenobi

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NASA has announced the two remaining TROPICS cubesats will be launched by Rocket Lab on Electron, NET 1 May 2023:

https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=57739.0

4 remaining cubesats, on 2 Electron launches  ;)

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