KODIAK — The window for Astra Space Inc., the California-based firm that conducted a test launch at the Pacific Spaceport Complex-Alaska in July, to get “Rocket 1” airborne is closing after three consecutive days of the launch being scrubbed.
According to the Alaska Aerospace Corporation schedule, the primary launch day was set for Friday, with Saturday - Thursday serving as backups. The launch window at Narrow Cape remains from 2:00pm - 6:30pm for these days.
After Friday’s attempt was scrubbed, a weather balloon was released and a drone sent out prior to the final minutes of a launch countdown on Saturday. A handful of observers prepared to witness a clear-sky takeoff only to be greeted with silence after what appeared to be an aborted launch following the countdown.
Efforts during the weekend were part of Astra’s attempt to conduct a second test launch of Rocket 1, following a test launch scheduled for Oct. 12-16 was scrubbed.
Alaska Aerospace Corporation CEO Craig Campbell, who could name neither the company nor the rocket due to a nondisclosure agreement, confirmed to the Kodiak Daily Mirror last week that the launch is a reiteration of the scrubbed test launch from earlier this month.
“The launch is a repeat of the customer that tried a few weeks ago,” he said. “Same vehicle, same company.”
A test launch of Astra’s Rocket 1 in July resulted in the termination of the rocket shortly after it took off.
“From our perspective, the launch was 100 percent successful. It launched, it went out for 21 seconds,” Campbell said at an AAC town hall meeting on Sep 12. “The vehicle didn’t perform as expected, so it was terminated prior to reaching its suborbital destination.”
“It was 95 percent successful,” Campbell told the Kodiak Daily Mirror shortly after the launch in July. “They got a whole bunch of data and a lot of good information from this launch, but it didn’t complete its full cycle.”
A representative of the private space company also told KDM that the launch was a success.
“The launch exceeded our minimum success criteria,” he wrote in July. “Our team, customers and investors are all thrilled with the outcome.”
A second license from the Federal Aviation Association to launch another rocket from the Pacific Spaceport Complex-Alaska was awarded on Oct. 15. According to a document filed with the FAA, Astra intends to launch “Rocket 2” sometime next year.
Nobody from Alaska Aerospace Corporation was available for comment Sunday night.