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Astra cancels Rocket 3

Launch System 2.0. Credit: Astra

Edinburgh, 8 August 2022. – Space launch company, Astra Space, cancelled its Rocket 3 program after two successful and two failed Rocket 3 flights, to focus on the next version of its launch system, Launch System 2.0, Astra said. The firm is currently working on re-manifesting payloads onto the new system.

Launch System 2.0 is designed for higher capacity, reliability, and production rate and is capable of delivering payloads up to 600 kg. It will deploy satellites to mid-inclination low Earth orbit. The company has made changes to its operating plan to concentrate its investments on the development of the upgraded version of this launch system.

Astra will also start increased production of the Astra Spacecraft Engine which has its total committed orders up by 69% since July 2021. The firm began investing in a new production facility as well to support the increased demand for the engine. These projects will be aided by the US $100 million Committed Equity Facility with B. Riley Principal Capital. The company said that the base bulk launch price for dedicated launches will remain under US $5 million.

Rocket 3’s first orbital launch with operational payloads failed to deliver four satellites to orbit in February. In June, Astra failed to launch two NASA weather monitoring cubesats due to the premature shut down of the rocket’s upper stage. Just a month before, the company revealed its new launch vehicle, Rocket 4.0, which is part of Launch System 2.0.

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