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Sun Sep 13, 2020, 01:21 AM

Rocket Launched by Space Start-Up Astra Crashes in Alaska

Observers in Kodiak, Alaska, were treated to some pyrotechnics Friday night, as the start-up Astra Space Inc. tried to reach orbit with its 38-foot-tall rocket for the first time.

Astra’s vehicle took off at 7:19 p.m. local time from the Pacific Spaceport Complex and flew for roughly 30 seconds before veering off course -- at which point its engines were remotely shut down. Gravity did its thing next, as the rocket tumbled back toward the ground and exploded in a forested area.

Alameda, California-based Astra is one of many start-ups worldwide vying to create small, cheap rockets that can ferry satellites into orbit on an almost daily basis.

The current leader in this market is the New Zealand-born Rocket Lab, which charges about $7.5 million per flight and has been the only company to conduct successful commercial flights so far. The big bet Astra has placed is that it can undercut Rocket Lab and others on price by building a simplified rocket that costs about $1 million per flight, although much work remains to prove out this thesis.

Read more: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-09-12/rocket-launched-by-space-start-up-astra-crashes-in-alaska

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