Pathfinder #0019, featuring Chris Kemp

Pathfinder is back on the rocket beat, and today, we’re getting a much-needed company update from Astra ($ASTR) CEO Chris Kemp. Today’s episode is brought to you by SpiderOak Mission Systems. Take the Payload/SpiderOak survey here.

The backstory: Astra’s first launch of NASA’s TROPICS satellites ended in failure this summer. Shortly thereafter, Astra scrapped all flights for 2022 and accelerated its pivot to a larger, more capable launcher. As it moves customer payloads to the Rocket 4.0 manifest, Astra says it will launch scientific spacecraft for NASA that are comparable to TROPICS payloads. 

All the while, shares of Astra have been in free-fall: $ASTR is -90% YTD. Chris still sounded a confident tone, saying the company has the cash to get to Rocket 4.0. Plus, “we have a tremendous number of assets sitting behind me that we’ve been using our balance sheet to fund,” he told us.  

A sneak peek at our other questions:

  • When will Rocket 4.0 fly? 
  • How did Astra’s Silicon Valley DNA—it literally started in a garage—help the company? 
  • How does one reconcile the pressures of being public with rockets’ lengthy development cycles? 
  • Could Astra Spacecraft Engine sales sustain the company through 4.0 commercial flights? 
  • What resources, if any, is Astra devoting to in-space services? 
  • If Astra’s future as an independent company were in doubt, would a sale or merger be in the cards?
  • Where does Chris see Astra 12 months from now? 

There’s more, but we’ll leave it to you to check out the full podcast at your leisure. 

Where to get Pathfinder #0019