Startup Astra reaches space for the first time — but barely misses orbit

Astra’s rocket launching from Alaska in September | Image: Astra

Astra, a California-based startup aimed at launching small satellites, successfully launched its rocket to space for the first time yesterday from Alaska, but the vehicle barely missed reaching the right speed to achieve orbit. Still, the company says the test flight was a major success and is preparing to fly its next rocket, this time with a payload on board.

“This far exceeded our team’s expectations,” Chris Kemp, Astra’s CEO, said on a press call.

Astra’s rocket, dubbed 3.2, took off from Alaska’s Pacific Spaceport Complex just before 4PM ET on Tuesday. The vehicle successfully climbed to space, performing all of its expected engine burns and separations. The rocket reached its target…

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