Astra-1 Prepares to Lift Off!

Spaceflight will be taking three organizations’ spacecraft to orbit on its maiden flight with Astra.  Dubbed “Astra-1,” our dedicated mission is planning to launch out of the Pacific Spaceport on Kodiak Island Alaska. The first launch window opens today, Monday, March 14, at 9:22am PT. It will carry payloads from NearSpace Launch, Portland State Aerospace Society, and an undisclosed organization. 

Spaceflight’s Mission Manager Wally Lang: “We’re looking forward to our first launch with Astra as they can provide additional capacity and launch options that enable us to further provide flexibility in getting our customers’ satellites to orbit where and when they want.”

He added:  “While this mission has been planned for a while, we recently needed to reconfigure the mission to accommodate new payloads in a short timeframe and Astra has been helpful and supportive as we worked together to make those changes. We value working with LV partners like Astra to better serve our growing customer launch needs.”

In addition to an undisclosed customer, these companies are also onboard Astra-1: 

NearSpace Launch’s CROSSOVER S4 

The NearSpace Launch team puts the final touches on their hosted payload platform during integration.

S4 CROSSOVER is a technology demonstration mission to obtain flight heritage testing for a prototype payload host platform. It will test supporting future payloads, including a Globalstar transmitter and an Iridium transceiver, as well space environmental instruments to characterize the radiation and plasma densities to which the payloads will be exposed. S4 CROSSOVER is self powered and operates independently of the Astra second stage to which it is permanently attached. Transmission from the S4 CROSSOVER will begin after second stage engine cutoff, activated by relays on the launch vehicle, and will operate until demise, which is expected to occur within a few weeks after launch.

Portland State Aerospace Society’s OreSat0

Students from Portland State University and their OreSat0 CubeSat during integration at Spaceflight’s facility in Washington state.

Re-manifested from SXRS-6 / Transporter-3, OreSat0 is a fully open source CubeSat satellite system built from scratch by students at Portland State University. Slated to be Oregon’s first satellite, the 1U CubeSat provides flight heritage for the modular, expandable, open source, and education-friendly OreSat bus. OreSat0 paves the way for OreSat, a NASA CSLI program 2U CubeSat with a global climate science and STEM outreach mission. This second CubeSat has a global climate science and STEM outreach mission: it will help refine global climate models by measuring the global distribution of high altitude cirrus clouds. Read more about their mission here.

PSAS Faculty Advisor Andrew Greenberg added, “This is such an exciting first mission not only for our team, but for all of Oregon. We couldn’t be more pleased to work with our Pacific Northwest neighbor Spaceflight to get OreSat0 launched. It’s been a fantastic learning experience for our students to work closely with Spaceflight’s integration engineers and mission experts, and it’s been such a pleasure letting them take care of all the integration, launch, and deployment details. They’ve really allowed us to focus on getting ready for hand off, and our mission operations. It’s a great partnership.”

Stay tuned for livestream information on the launch by following @SpaceflightInc on Twitter.

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