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Cancellation of PSAT3 Launch Means No DARPA Launch Challenge Winner


The launch of the PSAT3 CubeSat has been canceled, ending chances for winning the DARPA Launch Challenge. The challenge offered a $10 million prize for any launch provider that could deliver a rocket with only 30 days’ notice of what payloads they would have and where they would launch from — and then, to do it again only 30 days later.

“We were on the second launch,” said PSAT3’s Bob Bruninga, WB4APR, of the US Naval Academy. “But on March 2, the third attempt by the launch provider was scrubbed at T 9 minutes and was not resolved until the launch window and DARPA Challenge deadline, had passed. Therefore, the Challenge was over. There was no winner, and we lost the launch.”

The US Naval Academy project spacecraft remains available for a CubeSat Poly-Picosatellite Orbital Deployer (P-POD) launch opportunity, Bruninga said. He described PSAT3 as a follow-on opportunity to duplicate the functionality of PSAT2 in a full-sized P-POD payload that remains attached to the upper stage rocket body. The launch was expected to take place from Kodiak, Alaska.