Last updated on December 25, 2021
Astra Space, Inc. today announced that it plans to deploy its first satellite in orbit for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in January 2022. The launch from Cape Canaveral will be conducted out of Space Launch Complex 46 (SLC-46) and will be Astra’s first launch out of Cape Canaveral.
“This historic launch site has been prepared for a new commercial launch partner in less than year, which is a tremendous milestone for our combined team, and illustrates how SLD 45 sets the pace for access to space.” said Brigadier General Stephen Purdy, Commander of Space Launch Delta 45 and Director of the Eastern Range. “SLD 45, Space Florida, and Astra have moved at a rapid speed to demonstrate critical and responsive launch capabilities. We are excited to welcome Astra to Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.”
Astra and Space Launch Delta 45, a part of the United States Space Force, enabled Astra to launch out of Cape Canaveral in record time – shortening the multi-year approval time to months.
“Launching out of the Cape allows us to serve customers with mid-inclination delivery needs, broadening our market,” said Martin Attiq, Chief Business Officer at Astra. “This is an additional step in our global spaceport strategy and positions us to serve the broad low earth orbit (LEO) market.”
Astra successfully reaches orbit for the first time with latest rocket launch
The Alameda-based rocket startup launched their first orbital rocket on November 20th,, taking off from its launch site in Kodiak, Alaska shortly after 9 PM local time (1 AM ET).
This was Astra’s ‘LV0007’ mission, the follow-up to its last try in August, which was ended short of reaching orbit after the rocket got off to a rocky start with a brief hover and sideways strafe movement just after liftoff. Astra then investigated the cause of the misfire (an early engine shutdown) before initially setting the LV0007 launch for the end of October. That was shifted due to weather.
This new launch and Astra’s first successful flight to orbit comes just under a year after the company reached space with its Rocket 3.2 test launch, during a mission which surprised everyone, including Astra’s own team, with how close it came to achieving orbit.
Astra’s approach to the launch industry fits a niche that isn’t yet satisfied, with a rapid turnaround and high-volume approach to manufacturing that it claims will be able to produce small payload rockets at prices that make it possible for even more companies to get their cargo to space on dedicated missions, rather than relying on rideshare models on larger vehicles like SpaceX’s Falcon 9, or paying a relatively high price for something like Rocket Lab’s Electron.
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