NASA loses two hurricane monitoring satellites on launch

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

"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 said.

TROPICS CubeSats were a constellation of six "shoe-box sized" satellites that were to"study the formation and development of tropical cyclones, making observations more often than what is possible with current weather satellites."

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

In February, during another NASA CubeSat mission, Astra's second stage failed to reach orbit due to an issue releasing the shells that cover the satellites during launch.

"We regret not being able to deliver the first two TROPICS satellites," offcial statement from Astra's Chief Executive on Twitter.

Nothing is more important to our team than the trust of our customers and the successful delivery of the remaining TROPICS satellites. - Astra


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