Following is a summary of current science news briefs.
Space startup Astra signs first commercial launch contract, boosts rocket capacity
Billionaire-backed space transport startup Astra, which aims to go public before July in a $2.1 billion blank-check deal, has signed its first commercial launch contract with private imaging firm Planet, its chief executive told Reuters. The Alameda, California-based company also said it would be able to lift satellites weighing up to 500 kilograms (1,100 pounds) to low-Earth orbit before 2025, a tenfold leap in capacity from its current designs, aimed at winning business from forthcoming broadband mega-constellations like Amazon.com Inc’s Project Kuiper.
China released the first images taken by its Martian rover, Zhurong, on the red planet, state television reported on Wednesday. China’s uncrewed spacecraft Tianwen-1 landed on the surface of Mars on Saturday. The rover Zhurong will study the planet’s surface soil and atmosphere, and look for signs of ancient life.
(With inputs from agencies.)
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