Astra Space Applies to Launch More than 13,000 Satellites; Proposed Broadband Constellations Exceed 79,000 Spacecraft

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Astra Space has applied to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) the launch more than 13,000 communications satellites into low Earth orbit (LEO), joining SpaceX, OneWeb, Amazon and other companies seeking to provide broadband services across the globe. The application brings the number of proposed satellites in these constellations to more than 79,000.

“The Astra Constellation as proposed would ultimately consist of as many as 13,620 operational LEO satellites, supported by a global network of gateway earth stations utilizing the identified V-band frequency bands for feeder links for space-to-earth transmit and receive,” the company’s application said.

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Astra Space Fails in Third Attempt to Reach Orbit

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’s Rocket 3.3 failed to reach orbit again on Saturday after liftoff from an Alaskan launch site, marking the third straight failure for the now public company.

The booster had a rough take-off, moving laterally in an unusual manner before recovering to fly toward space. Astra Space later revealed that one of the rocket’s five first stage Delphin engines shut down one second after launch. It is not known why the engine failed.

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Astra Space Reports Quarterly Loss of $31.3 Million

ALAMEDA, Calif., August 12, 2021 (Astra Space PR) — Astra Space, Inc. (Nasdaq: ASTR) today announced financial results for its fiscal second quarter ended June 30, 2021.

“Astra achieved several key milestones in the first half of 2021 to further its mission to improve life on Earth from space,” said CEO, Chairman and Co-Founder Chris Kemp. “Astra obtained significant funding to further our plan for rapid, low-cost access to space by completing the Holicity merger and associated PIPE transaction. We delivered on key customer initiatives by winning our second NASA contract in a row (TROPICS) and signing a long-term launch deal with Planet Labs. And last week, we announced Space Force as our first commercial customer for a test launch planned during a sixteen-day window beginning August 27, 2021. I am pleased with our execution and want to thank the entire Astra team for their dedicated efforts. We all look forward to the upcoming launch.”

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Astra Plans Next Launch in Late August From Kodiak Island

Video Caption: The Final System Test, also known as the “hot fire” engine test for Astra’s Launch Vehicle 0006.

Astra is hoping the third time will be a charm.

The publicly-traded launch provider will make another attempt to reach orbit with its Rocket 3 booster late this month from Pacific Spaceport Complex — Alaska on Kodiak Island. The window for the launch attempt opens on Aug. 27 and runs until Sept. 11.

Astra’s first commercial launch includes a payload for the U.S. Space Force (USSF). It is the first of two launches ordered by the military service.

Astra’s two previous orbital launch attempts failed. The first rocket was destroyed shortly after launch in September 2020 after it began to veer off course. A second rocket launched last December reached space but lacked sufficient velocity to enter orbit.

On July 1, Astra became a publicly traded company on the Nasdaq exchange after a merger with Holicity.

Astra SPACs its Way onto NASDAQ

Astra’s Rocket 3.2 on the launch pad. (Credit: John Kraus)

Launch provider to become first publicly traded space company on NASDAQ through merger with Holicity

ALAMEDA, Calif., February 2, 2021 – Astra, the fastest privately-funded company in history to demonstrate orbital launch capability, and Holicity Inc. (NASDAQ: HOL) (“Holicity”), a special purpose acquisition company (“SPAC”), today announced a definitive business combination agreement that will result in Astra becoming a publicly traded company. The transaction reflects an implied pro-forma enterprise value for Astra of approximately $2.1 billion. Upon closing, the transaction is expected to provide up to $500 million in cash proceeds, including up to $300 million of cash held in the trust account of Holicity and an upsized $200 million PIPE led by funds and accounts managed by BlackRock.

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