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Astra is launching its rocket LV0006 from the Pacific Spaceport Complex in Kodiak, Alaska. The U.S. Space Force is the first paying customer for an Astra launch, with a test payload flying on top of the rocket.
The vehicle stands 43 feet tall and fits in the small rocket segment of the launch market. Astra’s goal is to launch as many as its small rockets as it can, aiming to launch one rocket a day by 2025 and drop its $2.5 million price point even further.
Friday’s mission tests a variety of upgrades to Astra’s rocket since its last mission in December. While that prior mission made it to space, the rocket came just short of reaching orbit.
The company’s window for this launch runs for 16 days until Sept. 11, so Astra can postpone Friday’s attempt if needed. A delayed rocket launch attempt, known in the industry as a scrub, may occur for a variety of reasons, ranging from bad weather to a technical issue.
Astra partnered with NASASpaceflight — a space industry content organization that is not affiliated with the U.S. agency — to webcast the launch.
Shares of Astra rose 2.6% in trading on Friday to close at $11.67.