Astra Space Drops Most Since SPAC Deal After Mission Fails
Astra Space shares slump after a weekend launch failed to carry a test payload into orbit.
(Bloomberg) -- Astra Space Inc. shares plunged the most since going public last month after a weekend mission failed to carry a test payload into orbit -- the latest setback for the satellite-launch provider.
The company’s 45-foot-tall rocket took off unsteadily Saturday from a pad at the Pacific Spaceport Complex in Alaska, flew for more than 2 minutes and then suffered what Astra described as “technical difficulties.”
Astra tumbled 17% to $9.68 at 9:54 a.m. in New York after dropping as much as 24%. The Alameda, California-based company, which began trading July 1 via a special purpose acquisition company run by telecommunications billionaire Craig McCaw, said it had gathered valuable data from the flight and has more rockets ready to test again soon.
The machine was carrying a test payload for the U.S. Space Force. Astra had its most successful launch in December, when its rocket reached space and then just missed reaching orbit.
Astra competes with industry leader Rocket Lab USA Inc., which has completed almost two dozen flights dating back to 2017 and is now busy working on a larger vehicle. Virgin Orbit, a private Richard Branson satellite-launch venture separate from Virgin Galactic, completed its first commercial mission in June and also plans to go public through a SPAC merger.
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