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Astra cancels rocket launch on Thursday evening

Astra Aerospace aborted a test of another rocket from Kodiak’s Narrow Cape Thursday evening. It was the Alameda, California-based company’s first attempt since its August 28 rocket launch failed early in the flight.

The launch window opened at 8 p.m. with launch expected within a few hours. Two hours of delays ended in a cancellation of the launch at approximately 10:15 p.m, with control room operators calling “no go” for an unspecified reason.

The company’s last launch attempt on Kodiak Island made international headlines after the rocket strafed dramatically to the side for several seconds, due to a failed thruster. It eventually built enough thrust to begin climbing into the sky, leaving a burnt streak on the ground that it travelled along. The flight was terminated after about two-and-a-half-minutes, before the rocket fell back to Earth.

Thursday evening’s launch, dubbed the LV0007, has undergone a few changes that Astra hopes will solve the problems that caused the LV0006 launch to abort midflight, the company says. It’s meant to help develop Astra’s 3.0 rocket, which it hopes will allow its customers to deploy microsatellites to low orbit for a low price, according to Astra.

The company says its 40-foot tall rocket uses an upgraded propellant system to prevent the mixing of fuel and liquid oxygen during leaks, which caused the failure of a thruster on the previous flight.

The launch is at Kodiak Spaceport, owned by Alaska Aerospace, a state-owned corporation that’s been a fixture for more than a decade on Kodiak Island’s Narrow Cape.