Astra, Rocket Lab win launch contracts – SpaceNews

WASHINGTON — Astra has received a NASA contract to launch a small constellation of Earth science cubesats, whereas Common Atomics chosen Rocket Lab for the launch of a small satellite tv for pc with a NOAA hosted payload.

NASA introduced Feb. 26 that it awarded a $7.95 million contract to Astra for 3 launches of the corporate’s Rocket Three automobile, which will probably be used to deploy the company’s -Resolved Observations of Precipitation and Storm Depth with a Constellation of (TROPICS) mission.

The three launches will happen over a 120-day interval between Jan. eight and July 31, 2022, from Kwajalein Atoll within the Marshall Islands. These could be the primary ground-based orbital launches from Kwajalein for the reason that final Falcon 1 launch, from Omelek Island there, in 2009. Kwajalein has hosted a number of flights of the air-launched Pegasus rocket, most not too long ago in 2012.

TROPICS is a constellation of six 3U cubesats in three orbital planes at an inclination of 30 levels and altitude of 600 kilometers. Every an identical satellite tv for pc will carry a radiometer to gather profiles of temperature and water vapor as they move over tropical climate programs. Scientists will use TROPICS to realize info on the construction of tropical storms, with the constellation permitting frequent revisits to review how these storms evolve.

The TROPICS contract is the second NASA Astra has obtained. In December, the corporate was one of three small launch vehicle developers to win Venture Class Launch Services contracts for launches of cubesats. Astra’s award, valued at $3.9 million, is for the devoted launch of 30 kilograms of cubesats to a 500-kilometer mid-inclination orbit, no later than June 2022.

Common Atomics introduced Feb. 24 that it chosen Rocket Lab to launch an Orbital Check Mattress satellite tv for pc it developed carrying the Argos-Four Superior Knowledge Assortment System (A-DCS) hosted payload. NOAA organized for the launch of the payload by the Hosted Payload Options contract automobile run by the House Power’s House and Missile Methods Middle. The launch, on an Electron rocket, is scheduled for late 2021 or 2022.

The A-DCS payload is a of the Argos information assortment system that features NOAA, the French house company CNES, Eumetsat and the Indian house company ISRO. The payload receives information from sensors, starting from these mounted on ocean buoys to wildlife trackers, and relays that information to floor stations.

The contract is the second in as many weeks awarded by Common Atomics for the launch of an Orbital Check Mattress satellite tv for pc. The corporate selected Firefly Aerospace Feb. 18 to launch a satellite carrying the Multi-Angle Imager for Aerosols hosted payload, a NASA Earth sciences . That satellite tv for pc will launch into polar orbit on an Alpha rocket from Vandenberg Air Power Base in California in 2022.

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