American space startup Astra Space from California has entered a small group of companies that have been able to launch into space. The developers planned to put it into orbit, but they only managed to cross the Karman line, which is the formal boundary of space.
The result surprised us and is definitely a good Christmas present. It has been a tough year. I think we all needed this victory. We’re just overjoyed.
Chris Kemp, CEO of Astra
As the developers said in the release, an error occurred during the tests: the second engine of the second used up fuel ahead of schedule, having worked 15 seconds less than planned. Because of this, the upper stage reached an apogee of ~ 390 km and was unable to enter a stable intermediate orbit: instead of 7.68 km / s it was 7.2 km / s.
Note that the leaders of Astra, the founder of the company and CEO Chris Kemp (Chris Kemp) was the CTO at NASA, and Chris Thompson (Chris Thompson) worked in the SpaceX launch team.