Astra's Rocket 3 on its launch pad. ©Astra

Astra to be taken private in bid to stay afloat

Disclaimer: All currency is in United States Dollars unless stated otherwise.

Astra was the first publically traded launch provider in the United States debuting with a valuation of over two billion dollars. Today Astra has fallen to a valuation of twenty-three million dollars.

Yesterday, the 7th of March, Astra announced it would be taken private at $0.50 per share, the closing stock price of the company was $0.86 the day before. This is via a merger with a new company founded by Chris Kemp, Astra's Chief Executive Officer, and Dr. Adam London, Astra's Chief Technology Officer. The two of them founded Astra in 2016.

The new company acquiring Astra is believed to be owned by Astra's long-term investors, as well as Chris Kemp and Dr. Adam London. The acquisition is currently expected to close in Q2 of 2024.

Astra has had a troubled history with its launch vehicles only having two successful missions out of nine attempted. The company notably failed to deliver satellites safely to orbit for NASA and the United States Space Force.

During the process of their initial public offering, or IPO, Astra was claiming to be able to scale to three-hundred launches per year at a 'low-cost'. The company has not stated publically the cost to launch but it is rumored to have cost as low as 2.5 million dollars all the way up to as much as SpaceX's Falcon 9, which is approximately 55 million dollars, once spacecraft insurance was included.

Astra however is hoping to come back with their in-development Rocket 4 launch vehicle which they say will focus on reliability, instead of being low-cost and high cadence like their previous offerings. Progress updates on Rocket 4 however have been few and far apart.

It's unclear how long the company will last and if they will manage to launch again after the acquisition. With the company going private regular updates on the company's finances and stability are unlikely to be public.

Who is Astra?

Astra is an American rocket company based in Alameda, California. The company was founded in October of 2016 and successfully made it to orbit in November of 2021, making it the fastest a company has gone from founding to orbit in the United States.

The logo of Astra and the flag of the United States on Rocket 3. ©Astra
The logo of Astra and the flag of the United States on Rocket 3. ©Astra