Astra’s stock drops after rocket failed to deliver NASA mission to orbit

The company’s LV0010 rocket stands on the launchpad at Florida’s Cape Canaveral ahead of the NASA TROPICS-1 mission.

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Shares of rocket-builder Astra fell sharply in trading on Monday after a weekend launch carrying NASA satellites failed to reach orbit.

Astra’s rocket LV0010 took off on Sunday from launch complex 46 at Cape Canaveral in Florida, carrying two satellites on NASA’s TROPICS-1 mission. The first part of the mission went as planned, but the engine on the upper portion of the rocket shut down early and the company was unable to deploy the satellites.

“We are reviewing flight data to determine the root cause of this anomaly and will provide additional information when it is available,” Astra wrote in a securities filing.

Astra stock fell as much as 25% from its previous close of $2.02 a share. The TROPICS-1 mission represents the company’s second mission failure in three launches this year.

In a tweet, Astra CEO Chris Kemp noted that NASA needs to have four of the planned six TROPICS satellites in orbit to be successful, so “the next two launches need to work.” TROPICS-1 was the first of three missions that NASA awarded to Astra.

“Our team understands what is at stake,” Kemp said.

The company’s vehicle stands 43 feet tall and is considered a small rocket in the launch market. Astra’s goal is to launch as many of its small rockets as it can — aiming to hit a rate of one rocket per day by 2025 — and further drop its $2.5 million price tag.

Astra went public last year after completing a SPAC merger, raising funds to build out production of its small rockets, expand its facilities in Alameda, California, and grow its spacecraft and spaceport business lines.

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