Despite rough inflation data, it seems investors weren’t particularly phased about the results yesterday. In fact, many stocks continued to do incredibly well over the course of Thursday, although not all. One such company that floundered was Astra Space (NASDAQ: ASTR), a satellite-launching rocket manufacturer that went public back in 2020. Shares plunged yesterday after the company botched a crucial rocket launch for a major client.
Astra Space confirmed that there was an issue with a rocket mid-flight that prevented it from completing its mission. Camera footage showed how the company’s LV0008 rocket reached the upper edges of the atmosphere before igniting into a fiery explosion. The rocket in question was carrying a batch of four satellites into space for a couple of customers, including NASDA.
While the rocket seemed to be fine for most of the flight, the sudden explosion that happened later on in the flight likely suggests something wrong with the second-stage system.
“We experienced an issue in today’s flight. I’m deeply sorry we were not able to deliver our customer’s payloads. I’m with the team looking at data, and we will provide more info as soon as we can,” tweeted Astra CEO Chris Kemp shortly following the disastrous rocket launch.
As bad publicity as this is for Astra Space, it’s even worse considering this is the first debut commercial launch in the company’s history. However, in the long run, it’s probably not the biggest deal in the world. SpaceX has seen countless rocket failures during its time. The only difference is that now space stock investors have much loftier expectations for new rocket companies, which may or may not be justified.
Unlike other companies, Astra Space is attempting to launch as many of its small rockets as it can. The original goal was to launch one rocket per day by 2025 and drop overall costs to $2.5 million per rocket. The rationale behind this is that most future demand will be for small satellites, which don’t need massive, expensive rockets to launch.
Shares of Astra Space fell over 26.5% following the news, with trading even being halted at one point due to the volatility. Since hitting an all-time high of $19.5 per share back in February 2021, shares have since lost almost 80% of their total value. The general consensus for Astra Space remains mixed. Out of just two analysts covering the stock, one still remains bullish at these low stock prices, and the other is neutral.
Although the excitement surrounding space stocks has died down a little thanks to the broader big tech selloff and even the prospect of higher inflation/interest rates, traders still keep a close tab on the sector. With industry giants like SpaceX and Blue Origins still private companies for now, investors that want to get in on this growing market are mostly forced to invest in these smaller, newer public space stocks, like Astra.
Astra Space Company Profile
Astra Space Inc is a technology company that provides space services, including satellite launch services and other space services, based on a proprietary, vertically integrated technology platform. – Warrior Trading News