A Historic Launch

Human beings are one curious species. Our desire to explore and learn new things has been an integral part of our identity throughout different generations, thus guiding us towards newer milestones without missing a beat. In fact, whatever we achieved on the back of this habit has nurtured our own growth in one way or the other. Building upon the said chain reaction, every time we scaled up as individuals, we would go back looking for something even better. Such a productive structure quickly orchestrated the creation of many new dynamics, with the most important one from the pack being technology. It’s almost unfair to call technology as a mere tool in our bag when in reality the creation has essentially recreated the world. Our lives today are, more or less, driven by tech principles, and it’s the case for a good reason. Technology, regardless of the context, has delivered results that are well-documented to elevate us beyond any known boundary. Talk about going off the bounds, one area where technology did a ton to satisfy our curiosity was space exploration. Now, even though going into the space was once nothing more than a pipe dream, the modern generation has reached a point where it’s all but ready to make the outer world one of the more viable destinations. A start-up named Astra recently helped us in taking a big step towards that goal.

After a handful of failed attempts, Astra has finally pulled off a successful satellite launch. While it was only a test flight, the launch bolstered the company’s stock price by a whopping 30%. Furthermore, it also put Astra alongside SpaceX, Rocket Lab, and Virgin Orbit, as the only companies to reach the orbit with a privately-funded rocket. Standing at 43 feet in terms of height, Astra’s LV0007 is nowhere near the size of a, let’s say, SpaceX’s Falcon rockets, but that does little to tell the whole story. Astra’s business model is largely based on manufacturing small and lightweight rockets so to enhance the economic feasibility of frequenting the space. Apart from the size, the company also intends to mass produce rockets in a similar bid to bring down the costs involved. According to some reports, it plans on making one rocket a day by 2025.

When asked about Astra’s ideology regarding rockets, this is what the company’s founder and chief technical officer, Adam London had to say:

“Rockets are typically artisanal, crafted objects. You make one at a time, and they’re very complicated. But when you really get into it, they don’t need to be that complicated, particularly when you’re not flying people or critical national assets, and they don’t absolutely, positively have to work 100% of the time.”

The breakthrough couldn’t have come at a better time. Before the recent launch, Astra’s stock price had been in a freefall, a downwards trend which was triggered when the company’s last launch ended with the rocket nose-diving into the ocean. Nevertheless, the tide seems to be turning now.

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