Astra Announces Launch Time for NASA CubeSat Mission

Astra announced it is targeting 1:50 p.m. EST for launch of its Rocket 3.3 from Space Launch Complex 46 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. The rocket is scheduled to carry its payload of four CubeSats to low-Earth orbit as part of NASA’s Educational Launch of Nanosatellites (ELaNa 41) mission.

This is the first launch under NASA’s Venture Class Launch Services Demonstration 2 (VCLS Demo 2) contract. The three-hour launch window remains opens until 4 p.m. EST.

Astra Space Inc. was one of three companies selected as service providers to launch small satellites (SmallSats) to space, including CubeSats, microsats or nanosatellites, through VCLS Demo 2 contracts awarded by NASA’s Launch Services Program (LSP), based at Kennedy Space Center. LSP supports the agency’s CubeSat Launch Initiative (CSLI) by providing opportunities for small satellite payloads built by universities, high schools, and non-profit organizations to fly on upcoming launches.

Stay connected with the mission on social media, and let people know you’re following it on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram by tagging these accounts:

Twitter: @NASA,  @NASA_LSP, @Astra
Facebook:  NASANASALSP
Instagram:  @NASA, @AstraSpace

Weather Looks Good for Launch of NASA’s ELaNa 41 Mission

Astra's 3.3 Rocket
Astra’s Rocket 3.3 is prepared for launch at Space Launch Complex 46 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. The rocket will carry four small spacecraft – called CubeSats – that comprise NASA’s Educational Launch of Nanosatellites (ELaNa 41) payload. The three-hour launch window on Feb. 7, 2022, opens at 1 p.m. EST. The mission will mark the first operational satellite launch by Astra Space Inc. and the first launch under the NASA’s Venture Class Launch Services Demonstration 2 (VCLS Demo 2) contract. Managed by NASA’s Launch Services Program at Kennedy Space Center, VCLS was developed to provide increased access to space for developers of small satellites. Photo credit: John Kraus/Astra

Weather is 90% favorable for lift off of Astra’s Rocket 3.3 from at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida as part of the first mission under the NASA’s Venture Class Launch Services Demonstration 2 (VCLS Demo 2) contract. The forecast, by the U.S. Space Force 45th Weather Squadron, predicts a slight possibility of cumulus cloud cover, particularly near the end of the launch window. The three-hour launch window opens at 1 p.m. EST.

The first operational satellite launch for Astra Space Inc. from Space Launch Complex 46 is scheduled to carry NASA’s Educational Launch of Nanosatellites (ELaNa 41) mission, sending four small satellites (SmallSats) to space for the agency. A previous launch attempt on Feb. 5 was rescheduled because of a range radar system issue.

Astra Space Inc. was one of three companies selected as service providers to launch small satellites to space, including CubeSats, microsats or nanosatellites, through VCLS Demo 2 contracts awarded by NASA’s Launch Services Program (LSP), based at Kennedy Space Center. LSP supports the agency’s CubeSat Launch Initiative (CSLI) by providing opportunities for small satellite payloads built by universities, high schools, and non-profit organizations to fly on upcoming launches.

The four CubeSats of the ELaNa 41 mission were designed and built by three universities and one NASA center. These include:

  • BAMA-1– University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa
  • INCA– New Mexico State University, Las Cruces
  • QubeSat– University of California, Berkeley
  • R5-S1 – NASA’s Johnson Space Center, Houston

The VCLS Demo 2 contractors will launch CubeSats selected through the CSLI to demonstrate a launch capability for smaller payloads that NASA anticipates it will require on a recurring basis for future science missions.

The Earth Science Division of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate  partnered with LSP to fund these contracts. The VCLS Demo 2 launches of small satellites can tolerate a higher level of risk than larger missions and will demonstrate – and help mitigate – risks associated with the use of new launch vehicles providing access to space for future small spacecraft and missions.

Stay connected with the mission on social media, and let people know you’re following it on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram by tagging these accounts:

Twitter: @NASA,  @NASA_LSP, @Astra
Facebook:  NASANASALSP
Instagram:  @NASA, @AstraSpace

Astra Announces New Launch Date for NASA’s ELaNa 41 Mission

Astra 3.3 Rocket
Astra’s Rocket 3.3 is prepared for launch at Space Launch Complex 46 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. The rocket will carry four small spacecraft – called CubeSats – that comprise NASA’s Educational Launch of Nanosatellites (ELaNa 41) payload. Liftoff now is scheduled for Feb. 6, 2022. The mission will mark the first operational satellite launch by Astra Space Inc. and the first launch under the NASA’s Venture Class Launch Services Demonstration 2 (VCLS Demo 2) contract. Managed by NASA’s Launch Services Program at Kennedy Space Center, VCLS was developed to provide increased access to space for developers of small satellites. Photo credit: John Kraus/Astra

Editor’s Note: This post was updated to reflect a new launch date of Monday, Feb. 7.

Astra Space Inc. announced that its launch of NASA’s Educational Launch of Nanosatellites (ELaNa 41) mission has been delayed because an unnamed range asset went out of service. Its Rocket 3.3 was scheduled to launch at approximately 3:30 p.m. on Feb. 5  from Space Launch Complex 46 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. The next launch attempt is scheduled for Feb. 7, with the three-hour launch window opening at 1 p.m.

Astra, of in Alameda, California, provides launch services to NASA under a Venture Class Launch Services contract, managed by the agency’s Launch Services Program based at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. NASA’s venture class contracts seek to encourage development of a new class of small launch vehicles and launch providers.

The launch is scheduled to carry four CubeSats, or small satellites, to orbit. CubeSats are a cornerstone in the development of cutting-edge technologies such as laser communications, satellite-to-satellite communications, and autonomous movement. The CubeSats on the ELaNa 41 mission were designed and built by three universities and one NASA center:

  • BAMA-1– University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa
  • INCA– New Mexico State University, Las Cruces
  • QubeSat– University of California, Berkeley
  • R5-S1 – NASA’s Johnson Space Center, Houston

CubeSats can tolerate a higher level of risk associated with launching on new venture class vehicles. Venture class missions can help NASA learn more about the risks of using new launch vehicles as well as how to mitigate other risks as the agency continues expanding access to space for future small spacecraft missions.

Follow this blog for NASA updates, and Astra will provide updated information via Twitter at @Astra.

Astra Updates Launch Time for ELaNa 41 Mission

Astra is now targeting approximately 3:30 p.m. EST as the new launch time for its Rocket 3.3 from Space Launch Complex 46 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida, as part of the first mission under the NASA’s Venture Class Launch Services Demonstration 2 (VCLS Demo 2) contract.

The first operational satellite launch for Astra Space will carry NASA’s Educational Launch of Nanosatellites (ELaNa 41) mission, sending four small satellites to space for the agency. The three-hour launch window opens at 1 p.m. EST.

The four CubeSats, designed and built by three universities and one NASA center include:

  • BAMA-1– University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa
  • INCA– New Mexico State University, Las Cruces
  • QubeSat– University of California, Berkeley
  • R5-S1 – NASA’s Johnson Space Center, Houston

Stay connected with the mission on social media, and let people know you’re following it on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram by tagging these accounts:

Twitter: @NASA,  @NASA_LSP, @Astra
Facebook:  NASANASALSP
Instagram:  @NASA, @AstraSpace

 

Launch Window Opens Soon for ELaNa 41 Mission

Astra's Rocket 3.3
Astra’s Rocket 3.3 is prepared for launch at Space Launch Complex 46 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. The rocket will carry four small spacecraft – called CubeSats – that comprise NASA’s Educational Launch of Nanosatellites (ELaNa 41) payload. Liftoff is scheduled for 2:10 p.m. EST on Feb. 5, 2022. The mission will mark the first operational satellite launch by Astra Space Inc. and the first launch under the NASA’s Venture Class Launch Services Demonstration 2 (VCLS Demo 2) contract. Managed by NASA’s Launch Services Program at Kennedy Space Center, VCLS was developed to provide increased access to space for developers of small satellites. Photo credit: John Kraus/Astra

Astra’s Rocket 3.3 is ready to lift off from Space Launch Complex 46 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida, as part of the first mission under the NASA’s Venture Class Launch Services Demonstration 2 (VCLS Demo 2) contract. The three-hour launch window opens at 1 p.m. EST, with launch scheduled for 2:10 p.m. EST.

The first operational satellite launch for Astra Space will carry NASA’s Educational Launch of Nanosatellites (ELaNa 41) mission, sending four small satellites to space for the agency.

Astra Space Inc. was one of three companies selected as service providers to launch small satellites (SmallSats) to space, including CubeSats, microsats or nanosatellites, through VCLS Demo 2 contracts awarded by NASA’s Launch Services Program (LSP), based at Kennedy Space Center. LSP supports the agency’s CubeSat Launch Initiative (CSLI) by providing opportunities for small satellite payloads built by universities, high schools, and non-profit organizations to fly on upcoming launches.

ELaNa 41 will launch four CubeSats, designed and built by three universities and one NASA center. These include:

  • BAMA-1– University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa
  • INCA– New Mexico State University, Las Cruces
  • QubeSat– University of California, Berkeley
  • R5-S1 – NASA’s Johnson Space Center, Houston

The VCLS Demo 2 contractors will launch CubeSats selected through the CSLI to demonstrate a launch capability for smaller payloads that NASA anticipates it will require on a recurring basis for future science missions.

The Earth Science Division of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate  partnered with LSP to fund these contracts. The VCLS Demo 2 launches of small satellites can tolerate a higher level of risk than larger missions and will demonstrate – and help mitigate – risks associated with the use of new launch vehicles providing access to space for future small spacecraft and missions.

Stay connected with the mission on social media, and let people know you’re following it on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram by tagging these accounts:

Twitter: @NASA,  @NASA_LSP, @Astra
Facebook:  NASANASALSP
Instagram:  @NASA, @AstraSpace

NASA, SpaceX Provide Update on Crewed Space Station Mission

Crew-3 Launch
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft is launched on NASA’s SpaceX Crew-3 mission to the International Space Station with NASA astronauts Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn, Kayla Barron, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer onboard, Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2021, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. NASA’s SpaceX Crew-3 mission is the third crew rotation mission of the SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket to the International Space Station as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program. Chari, Marshburn, Barron, Maurer launched at 9:03 p.m. EST from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center to begin a six month mission onboard the orbital outpost. Photo Credit: (NASA/Joel Kowsky)

NASA and SpaceX provided an update Feb. 4 on the status of preparations on the agency’s Crew-4 mission to the International Space Station. As part of the news conference, NASA and SpaceX answered media questions on Crew Dragon’s parachutes and work ahead of its next crew launch with NASA astronauts Kjell Lindgren, Robert Hines, and Jessica Watkins, as well as with ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti.

Listen to a full replay of the news conference, and read the agency’s statement below:

Crew safety remains a top priority for NASA. The agency and SpaceX carefully and methodically monitor the operational parachute performance on all crew and cargo flights to increase safety and reliability.

During the return of the SpaceX CRS-24 mission, teams observed a single main parachute that lagged during inflation like the return of the Crew-2 mission. The vertical descent rate of both flights was within the system design margins at splashdown, and all four main parachutes fully opened prior to splashdown on both missions.

With the commonality between Dragon spacecraft, the mission teams prioritize parachute imagery during return and recovery of the parachutes following splashdown. As partners, NASA and SpaceX jointly review the imagery data and perform physical inspection of the drogue and main parachutes after flight. The inflation model also continues to be updated to better characterize and understand margins and splashdown conditions. This review of flight data and parachute performance models will be completed prior to the launch of the Crew-4 mission and the return of Crew-3 astronauts from the International Space Station.

NASA and SpaceX are completing the parachute analysis as part of the standard postflight reviews conducted at the end of each mission. The results of the data reviews are discussed as part of joint engineering and program control boards and findings presented at the agency’s flight readiness review in advance of the next crew mission. NASA and SpaceX still are targeting launch of the Crew-4 mission Friday, April 15, to the International Space Station.

Launch Date Set for NASA CubeSat Mission

NASA’s Launch Services Program (LSP) has awarded multiple Venture Class Launch Services Demonstration 2 contracts to launch small satellites (SmallSats) to space, including CubeSats, microsats or nanosatellites. The first mission under the contract will lift off from Space Launch Complex 46 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida in February 2022.
NASA’s Launch Services Program (LSP) has awarded multiple Venture Class Launch Services Demonstration 2 contracts to launch small satellites (SmallSats) to space, including CubeSats, microsats or nanosatellites. The first mission under the contract will lift off from Space Launch Complex 46 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida in February 2022. Credits: NASA

NASA’s first mission under the agency’s Venture Class Launch Services (VCLS) Demonstration 2 contract is scheduled to launch four CubeSats to space no earlier than Feb. 5, 2022. The CubeSats, which make up the agency’s 41st Educational Launch of Nanosatellites (ELaNa) mission, will be the first VCLS launch from Space Launch Complex 46 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida and Astra Space Inc’s first operational satellite launch aboard its Rocket 3.3.

“As the first VCLS mission to lift off from Florida’s Space Coast, this launch is ushering in new opportunities for CubeSat developers and small class launch vehicle providers,” said Hamilton Fernandez, mission manager supporting the Launch Services Program. “Through our commercial partners, NASA is providing dedicated rides to space for CubeSats, which helps meet the agency’s objectives of transporting smaller payloads and science missions into orbit.”

Three universities and one NASA center developed the CubeSats, which are a type of small satellite. They are:

  • BAMA-1– University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa

BAMA-1 is a technology demonstration mission that will conduct a flight demonstration of a drag sail module by rapidly deorbiting the satellite. Spacecraft equipped with drag sail technology will be able to deorbit reliably and rapidly, thus reducing space debris and the risk to operational satellites, space stations, and crewed vehicles.

  • INCA– New Mexico State University, Las Cruces

INCA (Ionospheric Neutron Content Analyzer) is a scientific investigation mission that will study the latitude and time dependencies of the neutron spectrum in low-Earth orbit for the first time to improve current space weather models and mitigate threats to space and airborne assets. The measurements will come from a new directional neutron spectrometer, which is being developed in conjunction with NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and the University of New Hampshire.

  • QubeSat– University of California, Berkeley

QubeSat is a technology demonstration mission. It will test and characterize the effects of space conditions on quantum gyroscopes using nitrogen-vacancy centers in diamond. Nitrogen-vacancy centers are nitrogen defect points in diamond with quantum properties that allow scientists to form gyroscopes that measure angular velocity. Nitrogen-vacancy center-based technologies are particularly well suited for space because of their high accuracy, small form factor, and radiation tolerance.

  • R5-S1 – NASA’s Johnson Space Center, Houston

R5-S1 is intended to demonstrate a fast and cost-effective way to build successful CubeSats in addition to demonstrating some technologies that are important to in-space inspection, which could help to make crewed space exploration safer and more efficient. R5-S1 could prove a cheaper way to demonstrate crucial technologies like high-performance computers, cameras, algorithms, and a new way for satellites to transmit pictures to the ground.

The ELaNa 41 mission CubeSats were selected through NASA’s CubeSat Launch Initiative (CSLI) and were assigned to the mission by NASA’s Launch Services Program based at Kennedy. CSLI provides launch opportunities for small satellite payloads built by universities, high schools, NASA Centers, and non-profit organizations.

To date, NASA has selected over 200 CubeSat missions, over 100 of which have been launched into space, with more than 30 mis­sions scheduled for launch within the next 12 months. The selected CubeSats represent participants from 42 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and 102 unique organizations.

Stay connected with these CubeSat missions on social media by following NASA’s Launch Services Program on Facebook and Twitter.