Now you know what caused the memorable power slide when Astra was released for the latest time.
The Bay Area company attempted a third orbital lift-off on August 28, sending a two-stage orbit. rocket In a US military test mission, it was called Rocket 0006 (LV0006) from the Pacific Spaceport Complex in Alaska into the sky.
The LV006 initially moved farther laterally than vertically, then slid sideways from the pad to find its foothold and ascend into the sky of Alaska. However, the 43-foot (13-meter) high rocket was unable to fully recover from the initial difficulties. The mission is over 2.5 minutes after launch, near “max-Q” where the mechanical stress of the rocket is highest.
Astra and the Federal Aviation Administration are investigating the anomaly, and the company said on Tuesday (October 12) that the investigation identified a root cause, a problem with the LV006’s five first-stage engine propellant distribution systems. Announced.
“At this launch, propellant leaked from the system, mixed and trapped in a closed space under the interface between the rocket and launcher,” said Benjamin Lyon, executive vice president and chief engineer at Astra. Stated. I wrote in a blog post on Tuesday..
“These propellants were ignited by the engine’s exhaust, causing an overpressure event that cut off the connection to the electronics that control the fuel pump, shutting down the engine within a second of lift-off,” he added. rice field. “This is why the rocket hovered until it could generate thrust and take off with only four engines. After that, the vehicle returned to normal orbit and passed max-Q. Then the remaining four engines There wasn’t enough power. A vehicle to make orbit. “
Astra has never encountered the problem before, and the company has already taken steps to reduce the chances of the problem happening again, Lyon said. For example, Astra has tweaked the rocket launcher interface design to prevent propellant leaks from mixing.
“In addition, we changed and recertified the propellant supply mechanism to minimize fuel leaks, and removed the cover to eliminate confined space issues,” Lyon wrote in a Tuesday update. I am. “We have also improved both the design and operational verification process. We believe that these changes will significantly reduce the likelihood of similar events occurring in the future.”
These changes have been implemented in the company’s next rocket, the LV007, with the opportunity to fly shortly. The rocket will take off from the Pacific Paceport Complex during the period from October 27th to October 31st. Astra announced today. If that doesn’t happen, a second window will open from November 5th to November 12th.
Like LV006, LV007 carries the test payload of the Pentagon’s Space Test Program, company representatives said.
Astra, founded in 2016, Most of the small satellite launch market It is mass-produced, cost-effective and has an ever-evolving line of small rockets. The company has tried three orbital test flights so far.
The first attempt, which occurred in September 2020, failed due to guidance issues shortly after the launch of Astra Rocket 3.1. In less than three months, the successor I arrived at the universe However, there was a shortage of fuel just before reaching the orbital speed. Next, LV006 and its lateral shuffle were performed.
Such problems are expected during rocket development, said Astra’s representative.
“Our team is looking forward to returning to flight and learning more about the launch system, which is in line with the launch and learning philosophy,” said Chris Kemp, co-founder, chairman and CEO of Astra. Says. Said in today’s statement..
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Astra knows the cause of the August rocket launch failure and will try again soon
https://www.livescience.com/astra-identifies-cause-august-launch-failure Astra knows the cause of the August rocket launch failure and will try again soon