Astra and Rocket Lab win launch contracts

Astra and Rocket Lab win launch contracts

WASHINGTON – Astra won a contract with NASA to launch a small constellation of science cubesats from Earth, while General Atomics selected Rocket Lab to launch a small satellite with a payload hosted by NOAA.

NASA announced on February 26 that it had awarded Astra a $ 7.95 million contract for three launches of the company’s Rocket 3 vehicle, which will be used to deploy the time-resolved observations of the precipitation structure. and storm intensity with a SmallSats constellation (TROPICS) mission.

The three launches will take place over a 120-day period between January 8 and July 31, 2022, from Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands. These would be the first orbital ground launches from Kwajalein since the last launch of the Falcon 1, from Omelek Island there, in 2009. Kwajalein has hosted several flights of the air-launched Pegasus rocket, the most recently in 2012.

TROPICS is a constellation of six 3U cubesats in three orbital planes at an inclination of 30 degrees and an altitude of 600 kilometers. Each identical satellite will carry a radiometer to collect temperature and water vapor profiles as they pass over tropical weather systems. Scientists will use …

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