After three failures, the American startup succeeded on Saturday, November 20, 2022. During a test army flight, a 13-meter rocket carried a load 500 km high above the Earth. The participants managed to develop a cheaper plan for carrying cargo into orbit.

Three Failed Attempts

Astra first tried to carry the cargo in September 2020. However, the rocket flight ended soon after launch due to problems with the guidance system. Three months later, on the second attempt, the rocket hit space, but ran out of fuel, just seconds before it reached the required orbital speed.

Astra’s third attempt in August this year brought them unwanted worldwide popularity, when the launch vehicle first set out on a journey not upwards, but horizontally, and the flight was canceled after a few minutes.

Successful Space Startup

On the fourth attempt, the 13-meter Astra missile, designated LV0007, succeeded. The vehicle took off from the US Pacific Spaceport Complex on Kodiak Island in Alaska. The goal was a test flight for the purposes of the US military with a simulated cargo. After 9 minutes of flight, the mission’s cargo successfully reached orbit at an altitude of 500 kilometers.

The American startup Astra was founded in 2016 by the San Francisco Bay Area. He is working with NASA and a major customer, Planet, which currently operates the largest fleet of Earth observation satellites.

The great advantage of Astra is the great flexibility of its starting device. It can be moved in just a few standard containers. This is a great success for Astra, which they would like to follow up on in orbit soon. “This represents a huge, huge step in our mission to improve life on Earth from space.”, said Carolina Grossman, Astra’s product management director.

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