In the wake of a failure investigation and an announced delay of future rocket launches, Astra Corporation has announced that it will be delaying launches until 2023. Astra has been unable to achieve consistent success with its rockets, the press release read, and will halt launches until we are certain our designs are reliable and safe to fly. The company’s CEO was blunter in an interview with Space News: If you can’t even get your own rockets off the ground, how can you expect to be able to do this on schedule?
Astra a Small Space Launch Company Just Announced
Astra, a small rocket builder, has just announced that it will not have any additional flights this year following the company’s recent quarterly loss.
“Whether we can launch commercially in 2023 depends on the success of our test flights’ for the new rocket system, said Astra CEO Chris Kemp during the second-quarter call. Shares of Astra fell 3% after hours trading with a close of $1.58, which means the stock has been down about 80% in the past 12 months.
Astra said it will phase out Rocket 3.3 sooner than it had anticipated and will instead focus on the next generation of its launch vehicle. A new upgrade to Rocket 4.0 is more powerful and more expensive, with a price tag of up to $5 million per launch. The switch comes after the company launched a Rocket 3.3 in June with a pair of satellites for NASA’s TROPICS-1 mission, the first of three for the agency. However, the TROPICS-1 mission failed and the company was unable to deliver the satellites to orbit.
The Federal Aviation Administration is Investigating TROPICS-1’s Failure
The Federal Aviation Administration is leading the investigation into TROPICS-1’s failure along with Astra, while NASA has put the schedule on hold. As of Thursday, the TROPICS-1 investigation is still ongoing, but Kemp assured that NASA remains committed to conducting the final two missions at an undisclosed time.
In the three months ended June 30, Astra had an adjusted EBITDA loss of $48.5 million, with revenue of $2.7 million. It has $200.7 million in cash on hand and recently announced a $100 million equity facility through B. Riley Principal Capital.
Astra said its product line extends beyond rocketry, noting the company has 103 orders for its spacecraft engines.