Astra, now a publicly traded company, encountered a problem during its first commercial rocket launch. The mission carried a payload that was being tested by the U.S. Space Force. This meant that the rocket did not reach orbit. The rocket was able to ignite all five engines on Saturday at liftoff time from the Alaskan pad. However, one engine failed shortly after. However, it managed to achieve enough lift to reach the skyward point.
Amazingly, despite initial wobbles and sideways lists, the rocket managed to climb to an altitude of approximately 50KM (or about 164,000 feet) before the company issued shutdown commands and the rocket was safely returned to Earth. It didn't reach its orbital target for simulation of the payload deployment in the contract test, so it did not reach that point.
In a press release, Chris Kemp, founder, chairman and CEO of Astra, stated that while we regret not being able to achieve all U.S. Space Force mission objectives, we did capture a lot of data from the test flight. The lessons learned from this test will be incorporated into future launch vehicles including LV0007 which is currently in production.
Astra flew its last flight in December. One of its test launches was successful, but it fell short of reaching orbital velocity. Astra stated that software modifications to the navigation system were all that was needed to achieve a good orbit.