Astra, the Alameda-based space launch company, which recently announced its intention to go To the public via the merger of SPAC, Won a contract to deliver six cubic satellites into space on behalf of NASA. The agency is set to pay Astra $ 7.95 million to fulfill the contract. This will be a major test of Astra’s responsive missile capabilities, with a planned triple-launch mission spanning up to four months, and currently targeting sometime between January 8 and July 31 of 2022.
The satellites are for NASA’s time-bound observations of precipitation structure and storm intensity with a constellation of Small Satellites (TROPICS), a science mission that will collect data about hurricanes and their composition, including temperature, pressure, and humidity readings. As the mission’s extremely long and short name suggests, the data will be collected using a small constellation of satellites, each roughly the size of a shoebox.
Astra late last year completed its second planned and ultimately designed to achieve orbit, and exceeded its expectations by reaching space and nearly reaching orbit. The company said that based on the data it gathered from that mission, the last remaining obstacles to actually creating an orbit are all fixable through changes to its software. Based on this, Astra CEO and founder Chris Kemp said it believes it is now ready to start hauling commercial payloads.
Kemp was previously Director of Technology at NASA, and has also co-founded a number of technology companies over the years. This latest NASA mission isn’t the first contracted launch — it’s a far cry from that, as the company said it currently has more than 50 total missions on its list of private and government clients, with a total value of more than $ 150. Million in revenue.