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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

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
10 hours ago - Technology

TikTok gets more time (again)

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The White House is again giving TikTok's Chinese parent company more to satisfy national security concerns, rather than initiating legal action, a source familiar with the situation tells Axios.

The state of play: China's ByteDance had until Friday to resolve issues raised by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS), which is chaired by Treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin. This was the company's third deadline, with CFIUS having provided two earlier extensions.

Federal judge orders Trump administration to restore DACA

DACA recipients and their supporters rally outside the U.S. Supreme Court on June 18. Photo: Drew Angerer via Getty

A federal judge on Friday ordered the Trump administration to fully restore the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, giving undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children a chance to petition for protection from deportation.

Why it matters: DACA was implemented under former President Obama, but President Trump has sought to undo the program since taking office. Friday’s ruling will require Department of Homeland Security officers to begin accepting applications starting Monday and guarantee that work permits are valid for two years.

Updated 12 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Fauci says he accepted Biden's offer to be chief medical adviser "on the spot" — The recovery needs rocket fuel.
  2. Health: CDC: It's time for "universal face mask use" — Death rates rising across the country — Study: Increased testing can reduce transmission.
  3. Economy: U.S. economy adds 245,000 jobs in November as recovery slows — America's hidden depression: K-shaped recovery threatens Biden administration.
  4. Cities: Bay Area counties to enact stay-at-home order ahead of state mandate
  5. Vaccine: What vaccine trials still need to do.
  6. World: UN warns "2021 is literally going to be catastrophic"
  7. 🎧 Podcast: Former FDA chief Rob Califf on the vaccine approval process.

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