NASA LOSS Reported – A Stunning Failure
(RepublicanPress.org) – A few years ago, Forbes characterized ancient Roman playwright Titus Maccius Plautus’ observation that a person needs to spend money to make it as one of many “lies people tell entrepreneurs.” However, NASA appears to have embraced that old adage through its Earth Venture Class mission, a program designed to help boost America’s commercial space launch industry — sometimes at a financial cost for the agency.
On June 12, NASA issued a press release discussing the loss of two small weather-monitoring satellites due to a failed launch mission earlier that day from Florida-based Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.
After a nominal first stage flight, the upper stage of the rocket shut down early and failed to deliver the TROPICS CubeSats to orbit.
— NASA's Launch Services Program (@NASA_LSP) June 12, 2022
NASA contracted Astra Space, Inc. to launch the TROPICS mission’s CubeSats, but its rocket’s upper-stage booster engine shut down prematurely and failed to deliver the satellites into orbit, according to the company’s live stream commentator Amanda Frye.
Despite losing the two satellites, NASA officials remain optimistic about the multi-million dollar program. The agency reported the mission could still succeed with the launch of the remaining four satellites.
Although today’s launch with @Astra did not go as planned, the mission offered a great opportunity for new science and launch capabilities. https://t.co/9s30sDWJzz
— Thomas Zurbuchen (@Dr_ThomasZ) June 12, 2022
Additionally, Thomas Zurbuchen, the agency’s Assistant Administrator for its Science Mission Directorate, predicted future success from “low-cost opportunities” like the TROPICS mission. Low-cost in this instance comes to about $7.95 million, according to a report by Space News detailing Astra Space’s contract for the first of three launches.
History remembers Plautus as one of the world’s great comic dramatists. Still, would he have found humor in NASA’s approach to spending taxpayer dollars to bolster a commercial space company’s earnings?
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