In its first mission for a new customer, Spaceflight Inc., the space startup-turned-public-company Astra reached orbit for a second time.
It is a big win for the launch company. It hasn't been possible to duplicate the feat since November of 2021. Until now.
The Astra-1 mission lifted off. The nominal liftoff and stage separation of the Rocket 3.3 vehicle is a good thing in the launch business. A sat-to-sat communications system for NearSpace Launch and a cubeSat for the Portland State Aeronautical Society were among the three Spaceflight customers that the launch carried on behalf of. The third customer was not announced.
The flight path for the Astra 1 mission.
The company was not able to confirm customer deployment by the end of the launch. The story will be updated once deployment is confirmed.
Astra confirmed successful deployment via the social media platform.
Today's launch is the first in a series of missions on behalf of Spaceflight, in a deal that will continue through 2025, the two companies announced Monday.
A growing group of space companies went public via SPAC merger last July, opting for the public markets instead of a traditional IPO. After the company's most recent launch failure in February, its stock price fell by as much as 26%.
The company released a preliminary postmortem on the failed launch. Andrew Griggs, the senior director of mission management and assurance, said that the failure was due to two things: an issue with the fairing separation mechanisms and a software issue with the thrust control system.
He said that the changes eliminate the failure mode and make the software suite much more robust.
The company told investors last year that it wants to have a daily rate and weekly launch cadence by the middle of the decade.
Here is where you can watch the launch.