The company’s rocket LV0007 lifts off from Pacific Spaceport Complex in Kodiak, Alaska on November 20, 2021.
Shares of rocket builder Astra surged in trading Monday after the company reached orbit for the first time over the weekend.
The company’s rocket LV0007 launched from the Pacific Spaceport Complex in Kodiak, Alaska, on Saturday, carrying a test payload for the U.S. Space Force.
“Getting to orbit was really hard. Astra and only a few other companies — I can count them on one hand — have done this, ever,” Astra CEO Chris Kemp told reporters Monday.
“We’re now focusing on delivering for our customers and scaling up the production and the launch cadence of our system,” Kemp added.
Astra stock jumped as much as 42% in trading from its previous close of $9.53, with unusually heavy volume.
The launch makes Astra the latest among a small group of U.S. companies to reach orbit with a privately funded rocket, joining SpaceX, Rocket Lab and Virgin Orbit.
The company’s rocket is 43 feet tall and fits in the small-rocket segment of the launch market. Kemp noted that its Rocket 3.3 variation can carry about 50 kilograms of payload to low Earth orbit, with its planned Rocket 4.0 version expected to increase that capacity. Astra’s goal is to launch one rocket a day by 2025, dropping its $2.5 million price point.
Astra went public earlier this year after completing a SPAC merger, with the company raising funds to build out production of its small rockets, expand its facilities in Alameda, California, and grow its spacecraft and spaceport business lines.
Kemp said the successful LV0007 launch “suggests that there’s not going to be a lot of attention” on further changes to its Rocket 3.3 variation. The company will share “more soon” on its schedule for its next launch, Kemp said, with the LV0008 vehicle expected to be integrated for the mission shortly.