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NASA loses two hurricane monitoring satellites on launch.

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NASA loses two hurricane monitoring satellites on launch.
NASA logo exhibited at Qualcomm stand during the Mobile World Congress (MWC) the biggest trade show of the sector focused on mobile devices, 5G, IOT, AI and big data, celebrated in Barcelona, on March 3, 2022 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Joan Cros/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Two small NASA satellites that were meant to study hurricane development failed to enter orbit Sunday when their Astra rocket shut off before reaching the necessary altitude, the US space agency said. 

“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 said on Twitter. 

In a post to its website before the launch, NASA described the TROPICS CubeSats as a constellation of six “shoe-box sized” satellites that will “study the formation and development of tropical cyclones, making observations more often than what is possible with current weather satellites.” 

In February, during another NASA CubeSat mission, Astra’s second stage failed to reach orbit due to an issue releasing the shells that cover the satellites during launch.

“We regret not being able to deliver the first two TROPICS satellites,” Astra’s chief executive Chris Kemp said Sunday in a tweet.

“Nothing is more important to our team than the trust of our customers and the successful delivery of the remaining TROPICS satellites.” 

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