Astra Space aims to launch NASA science mission from Kennedy Space Center this weekend

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — Florida’s Space Coast could see its next rocket launch this Sunday, and it’s an Earth science mission for NASA.

READ: NASA to launch study on UFOs

It’s set to be launched by Astra Space, a startup rocket company whose last mission from the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station failed.

Astra Space said it’s ready to launch again and also has three missions set to lift off in the next few months.

>>> STREAM CHANNEL 9 EYEWITNESS NEWS LIVE <<<

After a successful static fire test last week, Astra Space expects to launch its next mission this weekend, pending approval of an FAA launch license.

Photos: Astra Space aims to launch NASA science mission from Kennedy Space Center this weekend

“NASA needs to do this,” said Ken Kremer with Space UpClose. “They can’t just be dependent on SpaceX and ULA. They need multiple launch providers.”

READ: NASA to launch 3 rockets from private Australian space port

Astra’s first Space Coast launch lifted off in February, but the payload failed to reach orbit.

Since then, Astra fixed the problem and had a successful launch from its spaceport in Alaska.

Now, it’s focus is on the upcoming TROPICS mission for NASA.

READ: NASA orders new spacesuits for planned spacewalks, return missions to Moon

“The NASA TROPICS mission is really important and it’s really important for Florida,” Kremer said. “We just had a tropical cyclone hit southern Florida, drench it with almost a foot of rain in the Miami area. What this satellite is all about is measuring the formation and evolution of tropical cyclones and hurricanes in real time.”

Astra’s small rocket, which stands just 43 feet tall, will deliver six weather satellites into orbit over 3 missions at a cost of about $8 million – cheap in space terms.

See more in the video above.

Click here to download the free WFTV news and weather apps, and click here to watch the latest news on your Smart TV.