Tech

Astra Rocket Launch Reaches Orbit

Astra Rocket Launch Reaches Orbit

For the very first time, Astra Space, a space company based in Alameda launched its rocket LV0007 into orbit, joining a limited handful of independently-funded enterprises that have done so in the industry.

The business launched the rocket from the Pacific Spaceport Complex in Kodiak, Alaska, carrying a test payload for the US Space Force. After a smooth takeoff, the rocket succeeded in completing each stage of the launch before reaching the target orbit at a height of around 500 kilometers about a few minutes later.

The company’s CEO, Chris Kemp, announced this in a company webcast, saying “This is an extraordinarily difficult thing to execute. Everyone is just incredibly passionate, the team has worked so hard on this for so many years and… seeing iteration after iteration, failure after failure lead to success; everyone is just incredibly passionate,” he added.

Astra follows SpaceX, Rocket Lab, and Virgin Space as the fourth American company to reach orbit using a privately funded rocket. This is Astra’s first successful voyage to orbit, coming a little over a year after the company’s Rocket 3.2 test launch, which stunned many, including Astra’s team, with how close it came to orbiting.

The company’s rocket stands 43 feet tall and is categorized as a small rocket in the launch market. Astra’s goal is to launch as many of its small rockets as possible in the future, to launch one rocket every day by 2025 and lower the $2.5 million price point even further.

Astra comes in behind SpaceX, Rocket Lab, and Virgin Space as the fourth American company to reach orbit using a privately funded rocket. The company’s rocket is 43 feet tall and is categorized as a small rocket in the launch market. Astra’s goal is to launch as many of its small rockets as possible in the future, to launch one rocket every day by 2025 and lower the $2.5 million price point even further.

Astra had never been to orbit before reaching space for the first time in December 2020. Its most recent attempt, in August, skidded off the launch pad sideways and failed to reach orbit. After completing a SPAC merger earlier in the year, Astra went public, generating capital to enhance the production of its small rockets, expand its Alameda, California facilities, and grow its spacecraft and spaceport business lines.

“It’s extremely difficult to keep doing it,” Kemp said on the webcast. “We have rocket serial numbers 8, 9, 10, so we’re just getting started,” he noted.

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Ajisebutu Doyinsola

Doyinsola Ajisebutu is a journalist and prolific writer who takes a special interest in Finance, Insurance, and the Tech world.