Watch Astra’s first DARPA Launch Challenge attempt from Alaska [Update: Scrubbed]

A $2 million prize is at stake today for the DARPA Launch Challenge attempt from Pacific Spaceport Complex Alaska on Kodiak Island.

DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, designed the challenge to help discover companies demonstrating “new and groundbreaking capabilities to address emerging Department of Defense needs.” California-based Astra is tasked with today’s launch which, if successfull, will be the first of three cash prize-winning launches.

About the launch:

Launch 1 (Launch Window February 17-March 1): The Team received notice of the first launch location just weeks prior to launch, and exact details on the payload 30 days before. The Team will receive a prize for successfully delivering the payload to low Earth orbit (LEO) within the launch campaign. A successful Launch 1 will earn a $2 million prize and is a prerequisite for attempting Launch 2.

NASA news chief Mike Curie began the launch coverage sharing that the launch attempt was moved back slightly today to avoid a potential collision in orbit.

Launch coverage:

  • The current launch time is scheduled for 3:55 p.m. ET
  • Temporary hold on launch called by a Guidance Navigation and Control officer (suggesting upper wind speeds may be too high) at T-53 seconds
  • Countdown clock resets to T-15 minutes if the issue is resolved today during the three hour launch window
  • Launch team now reviewing data to decide if launch is possible today, T-15 minute countdown required by 6:15 p.m. ET or launch window is missed
  • Scrubbed for March 2, no launch today, awaiting next potential launch confirmation (which could get awkward)
  • Final update: That’s a wrap for this particular challenge. No cash prize.

The live stream included this awesome pre-launch shots:


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