A rocket startup failed in its attempt to launch satellites off the coast of Alaska

A rocket startup failed in its attempt to launch satellites off the coast of Alaska
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A rocket piloted by a California-based startup crashed off the coast of Alaska on Tuesday. companies hope to offer their services to launch large numbers of small satellites into orbit.

Private ABL Space Systems attempted to launch an RS1 rocket in Alaska at 1:27 p.m. local time (5:27 p.m. ET). But the company confirmed shortly afterwards that there had been an “anomaly”, the aerospace term for a problem or misstep, and that the rocket had “shut down prematurely”.

“This is not the result we expect today, but the result we have prepared. We’ll be back with more information as it becomes available.” The company said about this in its tweet. “Thanks to everyone for their support.”

The purpose of the mission was to carry two small satellites into orbit for OmniTeq, which had recently separated from its space unit. The company signed the contract agreement For its first launch in 2021, when ABL is still operating under the name L2 Aerospace.

Tuesday’s attempt to launch ABL was the second setback in two days for the fledgling industry: ABL is one of a long list of companies chasing the same market — offering relatively cheap and easy access to startup services for operators. smaller satellites had to wait for extra room to open in previous years aboard larger rockets.

On Monday, ABL’s direct competitor Virgin Orbit attempted to launch its first mission from the United Kingdom, admitting it has an air-launched rocket. failed to reach orbit.

The core of the business model proposed by companies such as ABL and Virgin Orbit is to offer frequent trips to space and make the process better suited to the needs of smaller satellite companies, including those that build mostly large satellite constellations. low earth orbit for various purposes such as providing space-based internet or monitoring Earth’s climate and resources.

This includes small spaceships SmallSatsas large as a family-sized kitchen refrigerator, and a popular subset called SmallSats CubeSats, which are standardized miniature satellites that can be smaller than a shoebox.

Startups are developing rockets that are much smaller than SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, for example. But so far, the new class of small missiles has not proven to be as reliable as their larger counterparts. Almost every startup in the industry has experienced at least one launch failure.

In a crowded field, ABL hoped to join the short list of US-based businesses that have completed at least one successful mission. The first was Rocket Lab in 2018, with over twenty successful launches and three failures so far. startups astra and firefly they also put satellites into orbit – and suffered failures.

These companies may soon be joined by another startup, Relativity, which is currently building its first rocket at a launch pad in Florida.

Although all these rockets dedicated to the launch of small satellites are taking off, they are competing with larger rockets that are starting to provide certain services to the same market. For example, SpaceX launched SmallSat.rideshare” followed up with its heavy Falcon 9 rocket in 2019, and the company has so far launched six missions dedicated to small satellites for various customers.

Monday’s failed ABL launch followed the first several attempts to launch the RS1 rocket in December. The company fixed several technical issues, including a faulty sensor and several pressurization issues, to get the RS1 ready for Tuesday’s flight attempt.

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