Astra was gearing up for the first orbital test flight of its small satellite launcher, named Rocket 3.0, from Alaska on Monday, but officials scrubbed the launch after detecting a problem with a guidance, navigation and control system in the final minute of the countdown. Poor weather at the launch site also prevented liftoff over the weekend on the first of two missions under the auspices of DARPA’s Launch Challenge.
Some time in the next few days, a California-based company that has quietly toiled to develop a new light-class satellite launcher since 2016 will attempt to send three CubeSats into orbit from Kodiak Island, Alaska, on the first of two missions scheduled before the end of March to win up to $12 million in prize money from the U.S. military.
A Northrop Grumman Cygnus cargo craft departed the International Space Station Friday to close out a three-month stay, then raised its orbit to release multiple experimental nanosatellites for NASA, the U.S. military and research institutions, including one that was snap-assembled by astronauts using 3D-printed parts produced on the station.
After receiving more than $150 million in U.S. military funding to design and develop a reusable winged spaceplane named Phantom Express, Boeing said Wednesday it is ending its work on the vehicle, effectively killing a program military officials hoped would offer regular, reduced-cost launch opportunities for small satellites.
A Rocket Lab Electron rocket climbed into orbit from New Zealand Thursday (U.S. time) with an experimental payload for a U.S. military research and development agency to demonstrate the performance of a compact, deployable antenna that could expand the communications capabilities of future small satellites.
Rocket Lab’s launch team canceled a launch attempt Sunday in New Zealand after discovering a misbehaving video transmitter on the Electron booster set to loft a small U.S. military satellite into orbit to test an innovative antenna design. After replacing the transmitter, Rocket Lab announced the launch is set for Thursday (U.S. time) to wait for better weather.
Rocket Lab’s first launch of the year lifted off Thursday at 7:27 p.m. EDT (2327 GMT) after a four-day delay to replace a video transmitter and wait for improved weather. The company’s Electron rocket launched from Mahia Peninsula on New Zealand’s North Island with a technology demonstration satellite for DARPA, the U.S. military research and development agency.