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Astra Space Launches Rocket for Space Force

Rocket builder Astra Space on Saturday launches its first rocket since going public after aborting a rocket launch on Friday.

Rocket builder Astra Space  (ASTR) - Get ASTRA SPACE, INC. Report on Saturday launched its first commercial rocket since going public but said it failed to achieve its goal of reaching orbit.

Astra launched its LV0006 rocket from the Pacific Spaceport Complex in Kodiak, Alaska, at 3:35 p.m. Pacific time on behalf of a U.S. Department of Defense’s Space Force contract to test a payload under its space test program.

The space rocket company on Saturday said it had a successful launch and liftoff but achieved an anomaly in flight and did not reach orbit. The company said during the flight broadcast that it will investigate the flight to learn what caused the anomaly. 

Astra had planned the rocket launch for Friday but had to abort the mission for that day. 

Astra’s shares on Friday plummeted by 8.8% to $10.64 after halting its rocket launch. Its stock had risen by 2.6% to $11.67 at closing of the regular session.

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The rocket company said its objective is to launch monthly, then weekly, and finally daily space delivery by 2025 using its rockets, according to its website.

Astra went public on July 2 through a SPAC merger with Holicity. The company said it had over 50 rocket launches under contract at the time.

The Alameda, Calif., space rocket company on Aug. 9 announced it was awarded an Orbital Services Program-4 Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity contract from the Rocket Systems Launch Program of Space Force.

“We need this IDIQ contract to continue to introduce speed, agility and flexibility into the launch enterprise and continue to cultivate a resilient and affordable launch market,” said Lt. Col. Justin Beltz, chief of Small Launch and Targets division at Space Force.

“It is an honor to serve the United States by building a more resilient space program,” said Martin Attiq, chief business officer of Astra. “This new contract simplifies the process to make responsive launch a critical and credible capability for our nation.”

Astra on Aug. 12 introduced a new launch customer, Spire Global, with plans to begin launching satellites on behalf of its new client beginning next spring. Spire Global is a provider of space-based data and analytics that offers unique datasets and powerful insights about Earth from the ultimate vantage point so organizations can make decisions with confidence, accuracy and speed.