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DARPA Launch Challenge ends without a winner
Posted: Sat, Mar 7, 2020, 10:35 AM ET (1535 GMT)
The DARPA Launch Challenge ended without a winner Monday when Astra scrubbed its last launch attempt less than a minute before liftoff. Astra's Rocket 3.0 vehicle was scheduled to launch from Pacific Spaceport Complex — Alaska, but controllers halted the countdown 53 seconds before liftoff because of "off-nominal" data from a sensor linked to the rocket's guidance, navigation and control system. The company could not resolve the problem before the launch window closed, and Monday was the last day in a two-week window for Astra to attempt a launch as part of the competition. Astra will thus miss out on a $2 million prize had it successfully reached orbit on this launch, plus $10 million if it performed a second successful launch later in the month. Astra said it will likely try to launch again, outside of the competition, in "a week or two" after resolving the problem. Astra was the last remaining competitor in the DARPA Launch Challenge, which sought to demonstrate responsive launch capabilities.
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