Astra has reported that it suffered technical difficulties during the test launch of its two-stage Launch Vehicle 0006 (LV0006) on 28 August.

The Rocket 3.3 vehicle lifted off from Pad LP-3B, Pacific Spaceport Complex in Alaska on Kodiak Island.

The launch window for the mission began on 27 August and will run until 11 September.

The company said that one of the five main engines failed less than a second after liftoff and caused the rocket to hover sideways.

In addition, the remaining engines were commanded to shut down to end the flight after nearly two minutes and thirty seconds of endurance.

The vehicle had reached an altitude of 50km and returned safely to Earth.

The mission included a non-deployable US Space Force payload. The launch was the first of two Astra has under contract through the Defense Innovation Unit’s Other Transaction Agreement.

Astra founder, chairman and CEO Chris Kemp said: “We regret that we were unable to accomplish all mission objectives for the US Space Force; however, we captured a tremendous amount of data from this test flight.

“We will incorporate learnings from this test into future launch vehicles, including LV0007, which is currently in production.”

Currently, Astra said it is seeking a mishap investigation on the failure. The company is working in close cooperation with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to investigate the issue.

Recently, Astra Space secured a contract from the Rocket Systems Launch Program (RSLP) of the USSF for the Orbital Services Program (OSP)-4 programme.