Astra Space Faces Class Action Lawsuits

Rocket 3.3 makes a wobbly liftoff from Kodiak Island after losing a first stage engine. (Credit: NASASpaceflight.com/Astra Space webcast)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Astra Space, whose first attempt to orbit satellites failed on Feb. 10, is facing class action lawsuits alleging that the small-satellite launch provider and its officers made false and misleading statements about the company’s capabilities. Astra Space went public last July in a merger with Holicity Inc., a blank check special purpose acquisition company.

At least six law firms are seeking clients who lost significant amount of money after purchasing the stock. These include:

  • Kaskela Law LLC — Philadelphia, Pa.
  • Kessler Topaz Meltzer & Check, LLP — Radner, Pa.
  • Law Offices of Howard G. Smith — Bensalem, Pa.
  • Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP — San Diego
  • Rosen Law Firm — New York
  • Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz LLP — New York

Astra Space has plans to launch satellites up to 300 times per year and bills itself as having the ability to rapidly launch rockets from different ranges. But, those and other claims are false, the Rosen Law Firm alleged in a press release.

According to the lawsuit, defendants throughout the Class Period made false and/or misleading statements and/or failed to disclose: (1) Astra cannot launch “anywhere”; (2) Astra significantly overstated its addressable market; (3) Astra overstated the effectiveness of its designs and reliability; (4) Astra significantly overstated its plans for diversification and its broadband constellation plan; and (5) as a result, defendants’ public statements were materially false and/or misleading at all relevant times. When the true details entered the market, the lawsuit claims that investors suffered damages.

Rosen cited a report, “Astra Space, Inc (ASTR): Headed for Dis-Astra,” published by Kerrisdale Capital in December that raised questions about the company’s claims and ability to deliver on its promises.

Rosen’s lawsuit accused CEO Chris Kemp, CFO Kelyn Brannon and former CFO Steven Ednie of making false and misleading statements. The company denied the claims in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Feb. 10.

“Astra believes the claims are without merit and Astra, Mr. Kemp and Ms. Brannon will vigorously defend against these claims,” the company said.

Four CubeSats were lost in the failed launch of Rocket 3 from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida on Feb. 10. Astra succeeded in launching a dummy payload into orbit from Pacific Spaceport Complex — Alaska in November. It was the company’s only successful launch in five attempts.