Astra's Rocket 3.0 in Alaska. Photo: DARPA

A $12 million DARPA challenge that pushed the limits of what private rocket companies can do ended without a winner on Monday.

Why it matters: The lack of a winner two years after the competition began shows the challenges companies building small rockets face when it comes to technology development, finances and even the market for their services.

Driving the news: The contest required that teams launch two rockets from two locations on short notice, but the final team — the company Astra — wasn't able to stage its first launch in the timeframe set out by DARPA.

The big picture: The challenge was designed to simulate a real scenario in which the government would need eyes on a particular target that couldn't be seen easily or safely through other means, necessitating that they launch new satellites to orbit.

  • "We think that even being able to get to the point we got to will demonstrate to folks that this is something that is right on the cusp of the possible," Todd Master, DARPA program manager for the competition, said during a webcast of the launch attempt.

Details: An issue involving the guidance and navigation system of Astra's Rocket 3.0 canceled the launch on Monday and effectively ended the DARPA challenge.

  • Monday's launch attempt from Alaska was the final one allowed under the rules of the DARPA competition.
  • Astra isn't giving up on its vehicle, however.
  • The company plans to stage another launch attempt soon, though they don't have a date on the books yet.

Go deeper

Updated 7 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Republicans condemn Trump's refusal to commit to peaceful transfer of power

Photo: Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

A number of prominent Republican lawmakers addressed President Trump's refusal on Wednesday to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses November's presidential election.

Driving the news: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tweeted, "The winner of the November 3rd election will be inaugurated on January 20th. There will be an orderly transition just as there has been every four years since 1792."

38 mins ago - Technology

Pandemic spurs journalists to go it alone via email

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A slew of high-profile journalists have recently announced they are leaving newsrooms to launch their own, independent brands, mostly via email newsletters.

Context: Many of those writers, working with new technology companies like Substack, TinyLetter, Lede or Ghost, have made the transition amid the pandemic.

Updated 48 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 a.m. ET: 31,926,175 — Total deaths: 977,357 — Total recoveries: 22,004,598Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 a.m ET: 6,935,556 — Total deaths: 201,920 — Total recoveries: 2,670,256 — Total tests: 97,459,742Map.
  3. Health: The coronavirus is surging again — Johnson & Johnson begins large phase 3 trial — The FDA plans to toughen standards.
  4. Politics: Missouri Gov. Mike Parson tests positive for coronavirus — Poll says 51% of Republicans trust Trump on coronavirus more than the CDC.
  5. Technology: The tech solutions of 2020 may be sapping our resolve to beat the coronavirus
  6. Sports: Here's what college basketball will look like this season.

Get Axios AM in your inbox

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!