Astra Space successfully completed its first commercial orbital launch for the United States Space Force late Friday night, November 19, 2021, PST. The launch, STP-27AD2, was conducted from Astra’s Kodiak Spaceport, located at the Pacific Spaceport Complex in Kodiak, Alaska.
Astra’s launch system successfully demonstrated the orbital placement of a test payload to an inclination of 86.0 degrees at an altitude of 500 km. The payload achieved an orbital velocity of 7.61 kilometers per second in 8 minutes and 47 seconds.
“Reaching orbit is a historic milestone for Astra,” said Chris Kemp, founder, chairman and CEO of Astra. “We can now focus on delivering for our customers and scaling up rocket production and launch cadence.”
The United States Space Force contracted this launch through a Defense Innovation Unit Other Transaction Agreement.
Astra was founded in 2016 to launch a new generation of space services enabled by large constellations of small satellites in Low Earth Orbit. The team set out to design a rocket that could be mass produced like an automobile, and a launch system that could deliver payloads into orbit from spaceports everywhere, inspired by the opportunity to provide daily access to space. In just five years, Astra successfully “learned its way” to orbit, launch by launch, increasing capabilities and operational efficiencies with each iteration.
“We owe this success to our incredible team and the culture we’ve built at Astra.” said Adam London, co-founder and CTO of Astra. “I’m humbled by their courage and commitment to keep building, launching, learning, and iterating until we succeeded.”