Astra, a rocket startup company that has failed three launches, finally successfully launched into orbit earlier, joining the ranks of the few private companies that have the ability to launch into orbit. In Astra’s three previous orbit attempts, the first was a first-level rocket anomaly, which caused the rocket to fall back near the launch pad and explode; the second was that although it reached the target orbital altitude of 390 kilometers, it was due to fuel and The wrong mixing ratio of oxygen made it almost fail to orbit, and fell back to the earth. The third time was because one of the engines was damaged and the rocket lacked thrust. After slowly rising to an altitude of 50 kilometers, it fell back again. This is the fourth attempt. Finally, a U.S. Air Force test payload was put into orbit at a height of 500 km.
Astra is aimed at the extremely lightweight satellite market. The Rocket 3.3 rocket currently in use is only about 11.6 meters long, about three stories high, and can send 25-150kg payloads into low-Earth orbit. The upgraded Rocket 4 rocket in the future plan is expected to send objects weighing “hundreds of kilograms” into low-Earth orbit. The new generation of rockets is expected to fly for the first time in 2022, making the small satellite launch market currently occupied by companies such as Rocket Lab and Virgin Orbit even more crowded. However, there are more companies in this field that are about to join the competition. Astra’s first-step success should allow them to occupy a little bit of first-mover advantage.