NASA and Astra modify TROPICS launch agreement

NASA and Astra Space have modified the launch contract they were initially given to launch CubeSat, following Astra's retirement of the rocket that was supposed for these missions.

Astra, who was awarded a contract for $7.95 million in February 2021, will equip Rocket 3.3 with the Constellation of Small Sat to allow time

resolved observations of rain patterns and storm intensity. The contract called for three launches. 

Unfortunately, her first launch in June was unsuccessful and she lost two of her TROPICS Satellites.

Astra has made it clear that his Rocket3.3 vehicle will be retiring on August 4th. This will allow Astra to concentrate his attention on Rocket 4,

which has a payload of up to 600 kilograms versus 50 for Rocket 3.3. Astra stated at the time that he was talking to NASA about Rocket 4 to

launch his TROPICS satellites. However larger rockets would not be suitable for these smaller 3U CubeSats. NASA was most likely expecting that Astra would have to wait until 2024. Rocket 4