After a couple scrubs, Astra (NASDAQ:ASTR) launched Thursday for the first time from the Space Coast. LV0008 flew smoothly and nominally for roughly three minutes, but ended up failing mid-flight.
- What happened? Something went awry upon stage separation. The rocket’s upper stage began spinning shortly after engine ignition (based on the live feed).
- The payloads: Four NASA-sponsored CubeSats, via a $3.9M contract.
Market reaction: Not great. Trading for $ASTR was halted twice within roughly half an hour. Astra’s stock ended the day down 26%.
- As we wrote in November, “the vicissitudes and volatility of the public markets make Astra’s valuation especially sensitive to each launch attempt.”
- By the same token, going public via SPAC helped Astra raise money efficiently and effectively. As of the end of Q3 ’21, the launcher had $380M in cash.
Astra’s POV: “I’m deeply sorry we were not able to deliver our customer’s payloads. I’m with the team looking at data, and we will provide more info as soon as we can,” Astra CEO Chris Kemp tweeted.