Media Invited to Joint Teleconference for Boeing’s Orbital Flight Test-2

Starliner
A new service module was mated to a Boeing CST-100 Starliner crew module to form a complete spacecraft on March 12, 2022, in Boeing’s Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Starliner will launch on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket for Boeing’s second uncrewed Orbital Flight Test-2 (OFT-2) for NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. Photo credit: Boeing

NASA and Boeing will hold a joint media teleconference at noon EDT on Tuesday, May 3, to discuss the agency’s Boeing Orbital Flight Test (OFT-2) mission and provide an update on spacecraft readiness.

The teleconference includes the following participants:

  • Kathryn Lueders, associate administrator, Space Operations Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters
  • Steve Stich, manager, Commercial Crew Program, NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida
  • Joel Montalbano, manager, International Space Station Program, NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston
  • Michelle Parker, vice president and deputy general manager, Space and Launch, Boeing
  • Mark Nappi, vice president and program manager, CST-100 Starliner, Boeing

OFT-2 is scheduled to launch on Thursday, May 19, from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. Boeing’s uncrewed CST-100 Starliner will launch atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket for its flight test to the International Space Station as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.

Starliner is expected to arrive at the space station for docking about 24 hours later with more than 500 pounds of NASA cargo and crew supplies. After a successful docking, Starliner will spend five to 10 days aboard the orbiting laboratory before returning to Earth in the western United States. The spacecraft will return with nearly 600 pounds of cargo, including reusable Nitrogen Oxygen Recharge System (NORS) tanks that provide breathable air to station crew members.

Media wishing to participate in the OFT-2 mission overview news teleconference must RSVP by 11 a.m., Tuesday, May 3, by emailing the Kennedy newsroom at ksc-newsroom@mail.nasa.gov.

More details about the mission and NASA’s commercial crew program can be found by following the commercial crew blog, @commercial_crew and commercial crew on Facebook.

ELaNa 41 Mission Update

Following launch, an in-flight anomaly prevented delivery of the CubeSat payloads on NASA’s Educational Launch of Nanosatellites (ELaNa 41) mission. Astra’s Rocket 3.3 carrying four small research satellites lifted off at approximately 3 p.m. on Feb. 10 from Space Launch Complex 46 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

“Missions like these are critical for developing new launch vehicles in this growing commercial sector,” said Hamilton Fernandez, mission manager with NASA’s Launch Services Program. “The Astra team demonstrated dedication to supporting NASA’s mission. The lessons learned will benefit them and the agency going forward.”

Astra Space Inc., based in Alameda, California, was operating under NASA’s Venture Class Launch Services contract, managed by the agency’s Launch Services Program based at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The venture class contracts help encourage commercial development of a new class of small launch vehicles and launch providers.

Astra will work closely with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to investigate and will provide updated information via Twitter at @Astra.

Weather Favorable for Astra Launch of 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. 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

A high pressure system extending into north Florida has brought sunny skies, light winds, and a few clouds over Cape Canaveral Space Force Station on Feb. 10, 2022, as Astra plans the launch of its Rocket 3.3 carrying NASA’s Educational Launch of Nanosatellites 41 (ELaNa 41) mission. Space Launch Delta 45 predicts 90 percent favorable weather conditions during the one-hour launch window, which opens at 3 p.m. EST.

The launch from Space Launch Complex 46 will be the first mission under the NASA’s Venture Class Launch Services Demonstration 2 (VCLS Demo 2) contract. The payloads include four CubeSats selected through NASA’s CubeSat Launch Initiative (CSLI), which provides launch opportunities for small research satellites built by universities, high schools, and non-profit organizations.

“Missions like these help develop and test new, emerging rockets,” said Hamilton Fernandez, mission manager for NASA’s Launch Services Program. “NASA’s Venture Class Launch Services contracts are intended to grow the commercial market while creating options for flying small, risk-tolerant payloads at lower prices than more traditional launch services contracts.”

The 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

Astra Space Inc. was one of three companies selected as service providers to launch CubeSats, also called microsats or nanosatellites, through VCLS Demo 2 contracts awarded by NASA’s Launch Services Program (LSP), based at Kennedy Space Center.

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 To Reschedule ELaNa 41 Launch

Astra is working to resolve a minor telemetry issue following a scrub of the launch of its Rocket 3.3 from Space Launch Complex 46 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida Feb. 7. A new date is pending for the launch, which is schedule to carry four CubeSats to space as part of NASA’s Educational Launch of Nanosatellites 41 (ELaNa 41) mission.

Astra Space Inc. is one of three companies selected as service providers to launch small satellites (SmallSats) to space, including CubeSats, microsats or nanosatellites, through Venture Class Launch Services Demonstration 2 (VCLS Demo 2) contracts awarded by NASA’s Launch Services Program (LSP), based at Kennedy Space Center. VCLS Demo 2 contracts help foster the development of new commercial launch vehicles for NASA payloads.

Follow this blog for additional updates as well as NASA’s social accounts:

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

 

 

Automatic Abort Triggered Before Launch of CubeSat Mission

Before the rocket left the launch pad, automatic systems on board Astra’s Rocket 3.3 triggered an abort at approximately 1:50 p.m. EST, delaying launch of NASA’s Educational Launch of Nanosatellites (ELaNa 41) mission.

Astra teams are currently assessing the rocket systems, and they have enough time remaining in the launch window to restart the countdown clock at T-15 if they can troubleshoot the issue that caused the abort. The launch window closes at 4 p.m. EST.

The launch, from Space Launch Complex 46 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida, is scheduled to carry four CubeSats into low-Earth Orbit. Astra Space Inc. is 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.

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 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

 

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.