Astra stock rises after the rocket builder successfully enters orbit

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Shares in rocket maker Astra rose in trading Monday after the company first hit orbit over the weekend.

The company’s LV0007 rocket launched Saturday from the Pacific Spaceport Complex in Kodiak, Alaska, carrying a test payload for the US Space Force.

“It was really hard to get into orbit. Astra and few other companies – I can count them on one hand – have ever done this, “Astra CEO Chris Kemp told reporters on Monday.

“We are now focusing on supplying our customers and increasing the production and start-up rhythm of our system,” added Kemp.

Astra stock rose up to 42% in unusually high volume trading before sliding 17.2% at $ 11.17 per share during the day.

Upon launch, Astra is the youngest of a small group of U.S. companies to enter orbit on a privately funded rocket, joining SpaceX, Rocket Lab and Virgin Orbit.

The company’s missile is 43 feet tall and fits in the small missile segment of the introductory market. Kemp found that its Rocket 3.3 variant can carry around 50 kilograms of payload into low earth orbit, with the proposed Rocket 4.0 version expected to increase that capacity. Astra’s goal is to launch one rocket a day by 2025, bringing the price down by $ 2.5 million.

Astra went public earlier this year after completing a SPAC merger, raising funds to expand production of its small rockets, expand its Alameda, Calif. Facilities, and expand its spacecraft and spaceport businesses.

Kemp said the successful launch of LV0007 “suggests that there won’t be much attention to further changes to its Rocket 3.3 variant.” The company will “share more soon” about its schedule for its next launch, Kemp said, with the LV0008 vehicle expected to be integrated for the mission shortly.