The startup company Astra has manufactured rockets for both commercial and military customers. As of 2020, Astra is attempting to launch a rocket into orbit, and none of them are successful. These rockets are labelled "Rocket 3".
The first two rockets, Rocket 1.0 and Rocket 2.0 were used for a commercial customer called Alaska Aerospace. Although their only launches were reported to be failures, Astra later reported they were successful.
Rocket 3.0 being prepared to launch.
|Function||Orbital launch vehicle|
|Country of origin||United States|
|Height||11.6 m (38 ft)|
|Payload to SSO|
|Altitude||500 km (310 mi)|
|Mass||25–150 kg (55–331 lb)|
|Thrust||665 lbf vacuum|
|Propellant||LOX / RP-1|
The Rocket 3 is a family of 11.6-meter (38 ft) launch vehicles that have a payload capacity of 25–150 kg (55–331 lb) to a 500 km (310 mi) sun-synchronous orbit. It consists of two stages. The first stage has 5 engines called "Delphin".
The first Rocket 3, "1 of 3" or "Rocket 3.0", completed a static fire test at Castle Airport, California. It was planned to launch from Pacific Spaceport Complex – Alaska (PSCA) with attempted launches in late February and early March of 2020, with the last launch attempt on 2 March 2020, as part of the DARPA Launch Challenge. Three CubeSats for the U.S. Department of Defense and the University of South Florida, along with a space-based beacon designed to aid in space traffic management, were slated to ride into orbit on "1 of 3". On 2 March 2020, DARPA and Astra officials said the Prometheus CubeSat, the University of South Florida's two Articulated Reconnaissance and Communications Expedition (ARCE) nanosatellites, and the space-based radio beacon payload were to be removed from the rocket after the end of the Launch Challenge. Astra had failed to launch within the DARPA Launch Challenge's launch window; launch preparations continued regardless for the test flight.
On 23 March 2020, "1 of 3" was destroyed by fire during launch preparations. The incident at the Pacific Spaceport Complex on Kodiak Island occurred while Astra was detanking fuel during a pre-launch countdown dress rehearsal. A valve on Rocket 3.0 remained open. This incident was first reported by KMXT, a local public radio station. Kemp confirmed no payloads were on-board Astra's rocket at the time of the incident.
A second launch attempt was planned for no earlier than 31 August 2020 at 02:00 UTC using the second Rocket 3 vehicle, Rocket 3.1 (formerly "2 of 3"), but was delayed due to unfavorable weather conditions. The next launch window began on 11 September 2020. The launch occurred on 12 September 2020 at 03:19 UTC. The launch failed during first stage flight, five engines, when Rocket 3.1 experienced an anomaly and fell back to Earth shortly after, and exploded on impact in a part of the spaceport that was cleared of personnel before launch. However, many public viewers captured footage of the launch and failure with the rocket slamming into the ground creating an explosion and cloud. Astra officials said on 12 September 2020, a software fix will likely resolve a guidance system problem that caused the first orbital-class rocket to begin drifting off course soon after liftoff, prompting a range safety officer to terminate the mission. The result was not unexpected after Astra officials set modest goals for the test flight. The company said it planned a series of three test launches before it expects to reach orbit with its commercial rocket. Astra confirmed that Rocket 3.2, the third Rocket 3, was almost complete and would take flight after data review and making necessary changes.
|Flight||Date / time (UTC)||Rocket||Launch site||Payload||Payload mass||Orbit||Customer||Outcome|
|1||20 July 2018 ||1.0||PSCA, Pad 2 ||Unknown||Unknown||Suborbital||Unknown||Success |
|P120 mission for a commercial customer. The FAA reported an unknown mishap occurred during the launch; Astra later noted the launch was successful.|
|2||29 November 2018 ||2.0||PSCA, Pad 2 ||Unknown||Unknown||Suborbital||Unknown||Success |
|Launch for a commercial customer. Flight ended earlier than planned, likely due to engine failure. Rather than including an active second stage, this launch carried an "upper stage mass simulator".|
|N/A||23 March 2020||3.0||PSCA, Pad 3B ||LEO||Precluded|
|"1 of 3". Initially intended to be part of the DARPA Launch Challenge, but failed to launch within the challenge's launch window due to an issue with a sensor for the guidance, navigation, and control systems. A fire occurred prior to launch on 23 March 2020, destroying the rocket.|
|3||12 September 2020
03:19 UTC 
|3.1||PSCA, Pad 3B||None ||N/A||LEO||None||Failure|
|Formerly "2 of 3". Second attempt to launch a Rocket 3 for the first time. Initially intended to be the second of two launches for the DARPA Launch Challenge. 30 seconds after lift off engines were shutdown by the range safety officer.|
|4||December 2020 ||3.2||PSCA, Pad 3B||TBA||LEO||TBA||Planned|
|Formerly "3 of 3".|
|5||March 2021||3.3 ||PSCA, Pad 3B||TBA||LEO||TBA||Planned|