Astra’s Rocket 3.1 takes off from Kodiak Island, Alaska. Credit: Astra / John Kraus
Astra’s privately-developed small satellite launcher crashed shortly after liftoff from Alaska Friday evening on the company’s first try at reaching orbit.
The startup launch company confirmed on Twitter that the flight ended during the rocket’s first stage burn, following a successful liftoff and initial climb from a launch pad at the Pacific Spaceport Complex on Kodiak Island, Alaska.
“It does look like we got a good amount of nominal flight time,” Astra tweeted.
Astra released updates on the status of the mission on Twitter, but did not provide a public live video stream of the flight.
The company tweeted at 11:19 p.m. EDT Friday (7:19 p.m. Alaska time; 0319 GMT) that the 38-foot-tall (11.6-meter) rocket lifted off from Kodiak. A few minutes later, Astra tweeted again to announce that the flight ended shortly after takeoff.
Based in Alameda, California, Astra has developed a small two-stage launcher sized to loft microsatellites and CubeSats into orbit. The launch Friday evening was the Astra’s first try at reaching orbit, but officials cautioned before the test flight that the company was unlikely to achieve orbit on its first attempt.