Home SCIENCE AND NATURE Watch live @ 3:30 p.m. EST: Astra launching 1st DARPA Launch Challenge flight – Space.com

Watch live @ 3:30 p.m. EST: Astra launching 1st DARPA Launch Challenge flight – Space.com

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Watch live @ 3:30 p.m. EST: Astra launching 1st DARPA Launch Challenge flight – Space.com


Editor’s note: Astra and DARPA have called off today’s planned DARPA Launch Challenge liftoff due to bad weather at the launch site. Read our full story here. The next launch attempt will occur Monday (March 2).
The stealthy launch startup Astra will launch its first Rocket 3.0 for the DARPA Launch Challenge today and you can watch it live online here. Liftoff is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. EST (2030 GMT) from the Pacific Spaceport Complex on Kodiak Island, Alaska, where the local time will be 11:30 p.m. AKST.You can watch the launch in a webcast from DARPA here, or directly from the DARPA Launch Challenge website here.The DARPA Launch Challenge is an effort to spur the development of private American rockets capable of lofting small military satellites cheaply and on short notice. If Astra is successful today, the California-based company will receieve $2 million. If it succeeds in a second launch from a different pad at the Pacific Spaceport Complex by March 18, another $10 million will come Astra’s way.More: From DARPA:In early 2020, one team will attempt to win a $10 million prize in the DARPA Launch Challenge. The Challenge aims to increase the flexibility and pace of space launch to put assets into low Earth orbit to meet national security priorities.The remaining qualifying competitor is a space startup comprising industry veterans currently operating in stealth mode while the company works toward internal technical milestones. The team will receive notification of the first launch site in January 2020 with the first launch window targeted for February. Virgin Orbit, which entered the competition via its wholly owned subsidiary, VOX Space, exited the competition in October to focus on its upcoming commercial launches. A third team, Vector Launch, withdrew from the Challenge in September due to a change in the company’s structure and financial status.The Launch Challenge includes two launch campaigns, which will occur in a serial manner, within weeks of one another from two different locations. The team will receive notification of the first launch site approximately 30 days from the first launch window.“A major element of the Launch Challenge is to stress the systems that currently constrain access to space. Today, space launch is a process that begins two to three years in advance, and it relies on a limited number of launch sites with complex, expensive, and fixed infrastructure,” said Todd Master, program manager for the DARPA Launch Challenge in the Tactical Technology Office. “As indicated in the quickly narrowing field of competitors, responsive and flexible access to space remains a significant challenge. Future warfighting needs will require true space resilience, the ability to put assets into orbit quickly and from a variety of locations. It’s a fundamental shift from a strategic use of exquisite space assets to a more tactical future.”Launch Challenge PrizesSuccessful delivery of the payload into low Earth orbit in accordance with the first launch mission profile will earn a $2 million prize and is a prerequisite for participation in the second launch in a new location. Success in the second launch will earn a $10 million prize.To be successful in the second launch, the team must again deliver its payload to orbit within the launch campaign, which is targeted to begin March 2020. A U.S. Government or DARPA-designated commercial entity will verify the team’s orbit within approximately 24 hours of payload deployment.PayloadsDARPA has coordinated Launch Challenge payloads, which will be provided directly from the payload developer to the launch team. DARPA will provide updated reference low Earth orbits approximately 30 days before the start of the launch windows.Launch SitesThe team must provide the FAA detailed information specific to each potential launch site. The DARPA Launch Challenge has identified four launch sites for vertical lift. The potential launch sites are:Naval Outlying Field, San Nicolas Island, California;Pacific Spaceport Complex, Kodiak, Alaska;Vandenberg Air Force Base, California; andWallops Flight Facility, Wallops Island, Virginia.To earn a spot to compete in the DARPA Launch Challenge, teams had to successfully complete a three-step process: prequalification, DARPA Launch Challenge application, and submission and acceptance of an FAA commercial launch license application.’ISS Live!’ Tune in to the International Space StationFind out what the astronauts and cosmonauts aboard the International Space Station are up to by tuning in to the “ISS Live” broadcast. Hear conversations between the crew and mission controllers on Earth and watch them work inside the U.S. segment of the orbiting laboratory. When the crew is off duty, you can enjoy live views of Earth from Space. You can watch and listen in the window below, courtesy of NASA.From NASA:”Live video from the International Space Station includes internal views when the crew is on-duty and Earth views at other times. The video is accompanied by audio of conversations between the crew and Mission Control. This video is only available when the space station is in contact with the ground. During ‘loss of signal’ periods, viewers will see a blue screen.”Since the station orbits the Earth once every 90 minutes, it experiences a sunrise or a sunset about every 45 minutes. When the station is in darkness, external camera video may appear black, but can sometimes provide spectacular views of lightning or city lights below.” Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook. Need more space? You can get 5 issues of our partner “All About Space” Magazine for $5 for the latest amazing news from the final frontier! (Image credit: All About Space magazine)

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