NASA loses two hurricane monitoring satellites on launch

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– "After a nominal first stage flight, the upper stage of the rocket shut down early and failed to deliver the TROPICS CubeSats to orbit," NASA's Launch Services Program said on Twitter.

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Two small NASA satellites that were meant to study hurricane development failed to enter orbit Sunday when their Astra rocket shut off before reaching the necessary altitude, the US space agency said.

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After a nominal first stage flight, the upper stage of the rocket shut down early and failed to deliver the TROPICS CubeSats to orbit," NASA's Launch Services Program said on Twitter.

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Astra received a $7.95 million contract from NASA in February 2021 for three launches, each with a pair of TROPICS devices on board.

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Hoping to become a key player in the market for launching small satellites, Astra promises more frequent launches with more flexibility than companies using bigger rockets, such as SpaceX and Arianespace.

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But the start-up has faced recurring issues with its signature two-stage rocket failing to reach orbit.

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