Saturday, January 23, 2021

Astra's Tiny Rocket Gets To Space

Astra's interesting tiny launch vehicle almost made it to orbit, getting to space but coming up 0.5km/sec short in terms of velocity.

The startup company Astra has manufactured certain rockets for both commercial and military customers. As of 2020, Astra is attempting to launch a rocket into orbit, but has not been successful. These rockets are labelled "Rocket 3".

The first two rockets, Rocket 1.0 and Rocket 2.0 were test vehicles without payloads. Although their only launches were reported to be failures, Astra later reported they were successful.

The company sometimes says, "Our customer has requested we not discuss their operations with the press."

The weight of a rocket is certainly the force that opposes motion and thrust. A heavier rocket requires more thrust to reach space, which ultimately increases the overall cost of the rocket. Engineers try to find ways to reduce the weight of a rocket by using lightweight materials. However, lighter is not always better (depends on what the objectives are). It is interesting to see what kinds of better designs can be made.

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