A spaceflight company of California pursues to win the $12 million DARPA Launch Challenge is currently set for Saturday, February 29, following a delay of four days.
Astra which is a startup located in the Bay Area had targeted to launch its initial orbital operation on Tuesday, February 25 from the Pacific Spaceport Complex based in Alaska, as a component of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) send-off challenge, however, unfavorable weather intervened, resulting to a delay.
According to the website of the DARPA Launch Challenge, Astra is currently aiming for the launch to be held on Saturday, for the duration of a three-hour window that avails at 3:30 p.m. EST (1830 GMT).
The company was famous for working in almost total secrecy. Very few information was known about their spaceships, launch attempts, and tests. The only unrestricted Astra spaceship sighting was by news aircraft in early 2018. Their initial spaceship called Rocket 1.0 was seeing being ready for an experiment at the ex-Naval Air Station Alameda located in California. Nevertheless, Astra lately came out of the gloom and has given some of the details about their missions.
As a result of a major winter weather occasion anticipated to affect the Pacific Spaceport Complex-Alaska on 2/25, the subsequently available launch window for the @DARPA #LaunchChallenge would be unwavering when the circumstances get better, and the countdown clock of the launch would be tuned accordingly.
The Lunch Challenge of DARPA targets to encourage the development of private American spaceships that can launch little military satellites less costly, effectively, and regularly. The challenge calls for two send-offs on the short note and a fast turnaround. The initial timeline requested for the new 38-foot long Rocket 3.0 of Astra to launch the initial operation between February 25 and March 1 and the subsequent by March 18.
A triumphant initial launch would award the syndicate $2 million, and on top of that, the subsequent launch would give a supplementary of $10 million.
Astra was invented in the year 2016. However, it only came out of stealth mode in the current month. Meanwhile, the company has conducted various ground tests; it has not yet launched an orbital operation.
Eighteen syndicates showed interest in the Launch Challenge of DARPA after its announcement in the year 2018; however, only three syndicates namely, Virgin Orbit, Astra and Vector Launch enhanced to become full contestants. Astra is the only company still pursuing the prize.