Named after the latin word for a star, Astra is a commercial space travel company that aims to put its own spin on the vastly growing segment.
Instead of walking in the shoes of Virgin Galactic and offering space tourism to individuals, Astra plans to bring space travel cargo services to the table. In other words, it wants to become the primary commercial service that entities turn to while wanting to send shipments to space.
Needless to say, it is a very interesting and very ambitious goal. But by making smaller aircrafts that are both easier to build and cheaper to produce, Astra is making its case for fulfilling its goal.
Astra Has Been Around Since 2017
While big names such as SpaceX and Blue Origin have been focused on building flashier spacecrafts, the lesser known Astra has been working on a completely different brand of rocket ships. But while it’s obscure to the eyes of the general public, the space travel cargo company has made its mark behind the scenes.
Astra is the only company in the running for the Launch Challenge managed by Pentagon’s research and development arm, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa).
The Launch Challenge selected three finalists to compete against one another. The goal? Send two rockets from different locations within a few weeks of each other. If the rockets contained different payloads and launched successfully, the executing company would secure a bag of $12 million.
The Company is Closer Than Ever to Launch a Rocket Into Space
Astra’s been running its operations for three years only. Its a fairly new company. Judging by the progress of other space travel and spacecraft companies, that is not enough time to build let alone launch a rocket into orbit.
But once again, Astra’s unconventional approach to building cheaper, smaller rockets has paid off. The company is all set to launch its first Kodiak flight into orbit on February 21.
According to Astra officials, a successful launch will tell the world that the firm is a trustworthy entity to send shipments to space in the long run. With its rockets costing just under $1 million at the time, Astra claims to fulfill the cargo needs of major space travel companies with relative ease and bring about a compelling solution .
With former members of the SpaceX team and veterans of space travel being front and center of Astra’s operations, the firm is confident to scale at an exponential pace after the successful launch of its rocket ship.