Astra, an aerospace startup, flew into orbit for the second time on its first mission for new client Spaceflight Inc.
This launch is a big win for the company. Astra first reached Earth orbit in November 2021, but has since failed to repeat the feat. still.
The Astra-1 mission launched from the Kodiak spaceport in Alaska. The 3.3 rocket, designated LV0009, had a nominal (i.e. unobtrusive, which is good in the launch business) separation of launch and stage. The launch resulted in payloads delivered to orbit on behalf of three spaceflight customers, including CubeSats for the Portland State Aerospace Society and a Sat-to-Sat communications system for NearSpace launches. The third client is not reported.
The company was unable to confirm the payload deployment by the customer until the end of the launch live stream. gaming-updates will update the story once the release is confirmed.
Today’s launch is the first in a series of space flights in a deal that will last until 2025, the two companies announced on Monday.
Astra went public last July through the SPAC merger, joining a growing group of aerospace companies seeking to avoid a traditional IPO on their way to the public markets. Since then, the share price has steadily declined; Since the company’s last failed launch in February, the company’s stock has fallen a whopping 26%.
Earlier this month, the company released a preliminary report on the failed launch. Andrew Griggs, Astra’s senior director of operations and insurance, said the failure was due to two causes: a problem with the fairing split mechanism, which resulted in non-nominal phase separation, and issues with the thrust vector control system software.
“Through constant iteration and extensive testing, we have been able to show that the changes eliminate the failure modes seen in LV0008 and make the software package more reliable,” he said.
Astra has big plans: it told investors last year that it plans to launch weekly by 2023 and daily by mid-decade.
See launch here: