Astra scrubs 1st Florida launch attempt due to faulty 'range asset'

An Astra rocket is seen atop Space Launch Complex 46 at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida during the company's first attempted launch from the new pad on Feb. 5, 2022.
An Astra rocket is seen atop Space Launch Complex 46 at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida during the company's first attempted launch from the new pad on Feb. 5, 2022. (Image credit: Footage provided by NASASpaceflight LLC and Astra Space Inc.)

Astra's first launch of operational satellites will have to wait at least another day.

The California company planned to launch the ELaNa 41 mission for NASA today (Feb. 5) from Florida's Cape Canaveral Space Force Station but was thwarted by an issue at the launch range.

"Unfortunately, due to a range asset that has gone out of service today, we are going to stand out from today's launch attempt of the ElaNa 41 mission," Carolina Grossman, director of product management for Astra, said in a webcast of today's attempt. "Our launch window does extend to tomorrow as well at the same time."

The Sunday window opens at 1 p.m. EST (1800 GMT) and runs for three hours, just as today's did. You can watch the launch live here at Space.com, courtesy of Astra, or directly via Astra (opens in new tab) and its livestream partner NASASpaceFlight.com. Coverage will start one hour from launch.

Video: Watch Astra's Rocket 3.2 launch on its 1st successful flight

Astra has conducted four orbital launches to date, all of them test missions that lifted off from the Pacific Spaceport Complex in Alaska. The company succeeded in reaching orbit on the most recent flight, which launched in November 2021.

ELaNa 41 will break new ground for Astra; it's the company's first launch from the Lower 48 states and its first to carry operational satellites. 

Those spacecraft are four cubesats, which are flying via NASA's Educational Launch of Nanosatellites (ELaNa) initiative. The tiny satellites were developed by three different universities and NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. They'll do a variety of work in orbit, from testing out a spacecraft-deorbiting "drag sail" to demonstrating tech that could facilitate in-space satellite inspection.

Mike Wall is the author of "Out There (opens in new tab)" (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a book about the search for alien life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall (opens in new tab). Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom (opens in new tab) or on Facebook (opens in new tab)

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Mike Wall
Senior Space Writer

Michael Wall is a Senior Space Writer with Space.com (opens in new tab) and joined the team in 2010. He primarily covers exoplanets, spaceflight and military space, but has been known to dabble in the space art beat. His book about the search for alien life, "Out There," was published on Nov. 13, 2018. Before becoming a science writer, Michael worked as a herpetologist and wildlife biologist. He has a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology from the University of Sydney, Australia, a bachelor's degree from the University of Arizona, and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz. To find out what his latest project is, you can follow Michael on Twitter.