Astra shares drop 14% after rocket launch attempt aborted and postponed


The LV0008 rocket briefly fires its engines during a launch abort on Feb. 7, 2022.


Astra postponed its first mission from Florida on Monday after an abort stopped the company’s small rocket from lifting off.

Shares of Astra fell 13.7% to close at $4.60. Earlier in the day, the New York Stock Exchange halted the stock for volatility shortly after the company’s launch attempt was aborted at around 1:50 p.m. ET.

The company plans to make another attempt at launching the ELaNa 41 mission for NASA. An abort is part of standard procedure in the space industry when an issue is identified before a rocket launches and does not mean the mission failed.

“Unfortunately the abort … was a minor telemetry issue that the team needs to work to resolve,” Astra director of product management Carolina Grossman said on the company’s webcast.

Astra is carrying four cube satellites with its LV0008 rocket on the NASA mission, which is the company’s first launch from Florida’s Cape Canaveral. The company reached orbit for the first time three months ago with its LV0007 rocket, launched from Kodiak, Alaska.

A close up look at Astra’s LV0008 rocket at LC-46 in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

John Kraus / Astra

Astra’s 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 hit a rate of one rocket per day by 2025 and drop its $2.5 million price point even further.

Notably, for this launch Astra received the first Federal Aviation Administration license under Part 450 – a new space industry framework designed to streamline the regulatory process for companies requesting both launch and spacecraft reentry licenses. Astra said the FAA approval process took about three months. This latest development will “make it easier for Astra to launch at a higher frequency out of more launch sites in the United States,” the company said.

The company partnered with NASASpaceflight — a space industry content organization that is not affiliated with the U.S. agency — to webcast the launch.