Astra Space (NASDAQ: ASTR) shares rocketed up by 30% on Monday after the company successfully launched a craft into orbit for the first time. The LV0007 rocket was launched from the Pacific Spaceport Complex in Kodiak, Alaska over the weekend. The craft reached low earth orbit in just under 10 minutes.
The launch was contracted by the United States Space Force through a Defense Innovation Unit Other Transaction Agreement.
Astra founder, chairman and CEO, Chris Kemp, said:
“Reaching orbit is a historic milestone for Astra. We can now focus on delivering for our customers and scaling up rocket production and launch cadence.”
Previous launches from the company have made it to space, but have fallen short of making it to orbit. The first of the three previous attempts came in August 2020, when guidance system issues thwarted the attempt. Turning this failure around in just over a year seems a pretty impressive feat.
However, there is still more to come from the company.
Its next craft, the Rocket 3.3, is intended to carry human passengers on board, rather than just cargo. Tests are currently underway, but Astra has expressed confidence that the craft will be mission-ready by summer 2022.
Astra just reached orbit! 7.61km/sec at our targeted 86.0 degree inclination at an altitude of 500km. The team worked hard for this. We’re just getting started, folks. #AdAstra pic.twitter.com/NiMhCEsuCI— Chris Kemp (@Kemp) November 20, 2021
What is Astra Space?
Astra was founded in 2016 in order to launch small satellites into low earth orbit. The company says it intended to achieve a high number of reliable launches by designing a rocket that could be mass produced like a car.
The company said it has learned from each of its failed launches to increase its capabilities and operational efficiencies.
Today, the company boasts that it offers one of the lowest cost-per-launch orbital launch services in the world. Back in June, the company said its goal was to reach a daily launch rate by 2025 and drop its $2.5m price point even further.
Since the Astra IPO
Following its IPO, the company said it intended to use the proceeds to build out production of its small rockets, expand its facilities in Alameda, California, and grow its spacecraft and spaceport business lines.
Astra went public with an IPO at the end of June 2021. Since joining the NASDAQ, the company has seen its share price fluctuate a little, sometimes rising to around $20 per share, before settling around the $10 mark.
However, the successful launch over the weekend could apply some boosters to the price, now that investors know that the company’s technology is capable of carrying out missions successfully.
Astra Space’s results and prospects
If you’re thinking of investing in Astra, it’s worth remembering that the company is far off from making a profit. In its recent third quarter results the company announced a GAAP net loss of $16.2m and an adjusted net loss of $34.5m.
This will continue into the fourth quarter, where the company has projected an adjusted EBITDA loss of between $40.0m and $44.0m, and beyond as Astra seeks to find its spacefaring feet.
However, the company still has a healthy amount in the bank, reporting cash and cash equivalents of $378.7m as of 30 September. Now that it has proven its worth with the latest launch, progress may accelerate.
However, Astra is not alone in seeing its fortune among the stars. The company’s competitors include the likes of SpaceX, Rocket Lab, and Virgin Orbit.
The space race has some way to go before it will be profitable but, like the great black expanse, opportunity could one day be enormous.