NASA awarded Astra a $7.95 million satellite launch contract
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This launch will test the capabilities of the Astra rocket. Three launch missions are expected. The launch time window will be as long as 4 months. The target is January 8, 2022. Some time between July 31st and July 31st. The rocket will launch and place small cube satellites in orbit for NASA. These payloads are called “time-resolved observations of precipitation structure and storm intensity in small satellite constellations” or the TROPICS mission.
The goal of this mission is to collect hurricane and formation data, as well as temperature, pressure, and humidity readings. Each small satellite placed in orbit for this mission will be about the size of a shoebox. At the end of 2020, it was able to complete the second of its planned three launches to achieve orbital operation. The company stated that this exceeded its expectations, and the data collected from that mission enabled it to determine a stable orbit. All that was left was to optimize the software.
After that mission, the company stated that it was ready to start putting commercial payloads into orbit. Although the latest contract is the first contract undertaken by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), this is not the company’s first contract launch. It also has more than 50 missions from private and government clients. Once completed, the total contract value exceeds US$150 million.