Author Topic: Astra Space  (Read 258697 times)

Online M.E.T.

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Re: Astra Space
« Reply #800 on: 08/04/2022 11:20 pm »
« Last Edit: 08/04/2022 11:21 pm by M.E.T. »

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: Astra Space
« Reply #801 on: 08/04/2022 11:49 pm »
A 600kg LV is to big for single smallsat dedicated launch and to small to compete against 1000kg class LVs of which there are 3  due to launch in 2022.
I very much doubt Astra will be profitable enough at $5M a launch when 1000kg LVs are in $10-15m range.

This changing directions without completing existing product especially one that is nearly operational is not good look.
If Rocket 3.0 was profitable they should see it through to regular and reliable launch. The cashflow even if not enough to keep wolves from doors should buy them time. Lessons learnt will also be valuable when building larger LV.
« Last Edit: 08/05/2022 09:16 am by zubenelgenubi »

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Re: Astra Space
« Reply #802 on: 08/05/2022 12:01 am »
A 600kg LV is to big for single smallsat dedicated launch and to small to compete against 1000kg class LVs of which there are 3  due to launch in 2022.
I very much doubt Astra will be profitable enough at $5M a launch when 1000kg LVs are in $10-15m range.

This changing directions without completely existing product especially one that is nearly operational is not good look.
If Rocket 3.0 was profitable they should see it through to regular and reliable launch. The cashflow even if not enough to keep wolves from doors should buy them time. Lessons learnt will also be valuable when building larger LV.
At $5M, they'd still be the cheapest orbital rocket per launch, so unless somebody else wants to dive into the shallow end, the precious few dedicated smallsat customers will still have no more cost-effective options than Astra. They'd be a bit less expensive than Electron with a bit less than twice the payload capacity. On a cost basis, that's a slam dunk. Any doubts would be about reliability and schedule.

Online M.E.T.

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Re: Astra Space
« Reply #803 on: 08/05/2022 12:04 am »
A 600kg LV is to big for single smallsat dedicated launch and to small to compete against 1000kg class LVs of which there are 3  due to launch in 2022.
I very much doubt Astra will be profitable enough at $5M a launch when 1000kg LVs are in $10-15m range.

This changing directions without completely existing product especially one that is nearly operational is not good look.
If Rocket 3.0 was profitable they should see it through to regular and reliable launch. The cashflow even if not enough to keep wolves from doors should buy them time. Lessons learnt will also be valuable when building larger LV.
At $5M, they'd still be the cheapest orbital rocket per launch, so unless somebody else wants to dive into the shallow end, the precious few dedicated smallsat customers will still have no more cost-effective options than Astra. They'd be a bit less expensive than Electron with a bit less than twice the payload capacity. On a cost basis, that's a slam dunk. Any doubts would be about reliability and schedule.

No point if the market isn’t there to generate sufficient revenue, even if you are the cheapest. A dozen $5M launches per year won’t keep them afloat.

Offline Michel Van

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Re: Astra Space
« Reply #804 on: 08/05/2022 07:39 am »
i read that announcement

i my humble opinion: it's suicidal move for the Company
why ?
They drop almost working rocket for development of new bigger not tested rocket !
Mean they start all over again and need a lot money and testing that rocket.
if shareholders walk away here, its game over for Astra

For my part, i would replace the pressure fed second stage of 3.3 rocket by one that use a turbo pump fed engine.
it's cheaper and faster way to return launching...

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: Astra Space
« Reply #805 on: 08/05/2022 07:53 am »
i read that announcement

i my humble opinion: it's suicidal move for the Company
why ?
They drop almost working rocket for development of new bigger not tested rocket !
Mean they start all over again and need a lot money and testing that rocket.
if shareholders walk away here, its game over for Astra

For my part, i would replace the pressure fed second stage of 3.3 rocket by one that use a turbo pump fed engine.
it's cheaper and faster way to return launching...
A high performance electric turbopump engine would be ideal for upper stage and it's technology they know.
« Last Edit: 08/05/2022 09:16 am by zubenelgenubi »

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: Astra Space
« Reply #806 on: 08/05/2022 08:03 am »
A 600kg LV is to big for single smallsat dedicated launch and to small to compete against 1000kg class LVs of which there are 3  due to launch in 2022.
I very much doubt Astra will be profitable enough at $5M a launch when 1000kg LVs are in $10-15m range.

This changing directions without completely existing product especially one that is nearly operational is not good look.
If Rocket 3.0 was profitable they should see it through to regular and reliable launch. The cashflow even if not enough to keep wolves from doors should buy them time. Lessons learnt will also be valuable when building larger LV.
At $5M, they'd still be the cheapest orbital rocket per launch, so unless somebody else wants to dive into the shallow end, the precious few dedicated smallsat customers will still have no more cost-effective options than Astra. They'd be a bit less expensive than Electron with a bit less than twice the payload capacity. On a cost basis, that's a slam dunk. Any doubts would be about reliability and schedule.
Without direct competition RL haven't needed to lower Electrons price. If Astra can build 600kg LV for $5M using engines which they pay royalities on then RL should be able to match or better it.
« Last Edit: 08/05/2022 09:17 am by zubenelgenubi »

Online M.E.T.

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Re: Astra Space
« Reply #807 on: 08/05/2022 09:05 am »
A 600kg LV is to big for single smallsat dedicated launch and to small to compete against 1000kg class LVs of which there are 3  due to launch in 2022.
I very much doubt Astra will be profitable enough at $5M a launch when 1000kg LVs are in $10-15m range.

This changing directions without completely existing product especially one that is nearly operational is not good look.
If Rocket 3.0 was profitable they should see it through to regular and reliable launch. The cashflow even if not enough to keep wolves from doors should buy them time. Lessons learnt will also be valuable when building larger LV.
At $5M, they'd still be the cheapest orbital rocket per launch, so unless somebody else wants to dive into the shallow end, the precious few dedicated smallsat customers will still have no more cost-effective options than Astra. They'd be a bit less expensive than Electron with a bit less than twice the payload capacity. On a cost basis, that's a slam dunk. Any doubts would be about reliability and schedule.
Without direct competition RL haven't needed to lower Electrons price. If Astra can build 600kg LV for $5M using engines which they pay royalities on then RL should be able to match or better it.


RL isn’t making money from Electron. That’s why they’re moving on to Neutron. Astra is chasing a non-viable market.
« Last Edit: 08/05/2022 09:17 am by zubenelgenubi »

Offline Michel Van

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Re: Astra Space
« Reply #808 on: 08/05/2022 09:59 am »
RL isn’t making money from Electron. That’s why they’re moving on to Neutron. Astra is chasing a non-viable market.

Next to that RL goes into Satellite construction and offers Photon upper stage as a Satellite
with success, two Photons will used as ESCAPADE Mars orbiter, launch by Falcon 9 rocket

but there is another issue ASTRA has to face: Ready to launch competition.

Firefly Aerospace is testing there Alpha rocket with 745 kg into SSO
Relativ Space has it Terran 1 prototype on launch pad with 900 kg into SSO
and there is Virgin Orbit with LauncherOne with 300 kg into SSO (if increase there number of launches)

Once ASTRA new Rocket 4.0 is ready to test flight with 600 kg into ? ? ?
Alpha and Terran 1 proven them self by series of launches
like wise Virgin Orbit with LauncherOne who gain part of launch market until then.
(do there market model we launch from everywhere, if you let us)
means uphill battle for ASTRA to get customer

Let face it, if you want to launch your Satellite you want it get into orbit, safe...
and take the most reliable launch provider, for moment sadly ASTRA is that not!
what let for customers those options: SpaceX, RocketLab (and Virgin Orbit )
« Last Edit: 08/05/2022 10:02 am by Michel Van »

Offline J-B

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Re: Astra Space
« Reply #809 on: 08/05/2022 11:08 am »
RL isn’t making money from Electron. That’s why they’re moving on to Neutron. Astra is chasing a non-viable market.

Next to that RL goes into Satellite construction and offers Photon upper stage as a Satellite
with success, two Photons will used as ESCAPADE Mars orbiter, launch by Falcon 9 rocket

but there is another issue ASTRA has to face: Ready to launch competition.

Firefly Aerospace is testing there Alpha rocket with 745 kg into SSO
Relativ Space has it Terran 1 prototype on launch pad with 900 kg into SSO
and there is Virgin Orbit with LauncherOne with 300 kg into SSO (if increase there number of launches)

Once ASTRA new Rocket 4.0 is ready to test flight with 600 kg into ? ? ?
Alpha and Terran 1 proven them self by series of launches
like wise Virgin Orbit with LauncherOne who gain part of launch market until then.
(do there market model we launch from everywhere, if you let us)
means uphill battle for ASTRA to get customer

Let face it, if you want to launch your Satellite you want it get into orbit, safe...
and take the most reliable launch provider, for moment sadly ASTRA is that not!
what let for customers those options: SpaceX, RocketLab (and Virgin Orbit )

Abl space systems with RS-1 is also a big competitor on this market, they will launch in beginning of september if everything goes well.

Offline niwax

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Re: Astra Space
« Reply #810 on: 08/05/2022 11:46 am »
Let face it, if you want to launch your Satellite you want it get into orbit, safe...
and take the most reliable launch provider, for moment sadly ASTRA is that not!
what let for customers those options: SpaceX, RocketLab (and Virgin Orbit )

And that's where the low price falls down. If your overall costs are just $10 million, then the insurance difference alone would easily be a million. When Proton got a bit wobbly it was at 12% compared to the more usual 4% and Astra is nowhere near Proton even at its worst.

And let's face it, if someone is booking a dedicated 500+kg class launch, they are not launching a $500k uninsured cubesat. TROPICS costs about $11 million a launch and that is with just $2.5 million for the rocket and a nudge from NASA to support dedicated launch.
Which booster has the most soot? SpaceX booster launch history! (discussion)

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: Astra Space
« Reply #811 on: 08/05/2022 06:27 pm »
Let face it, if you want to launch your Satellite you want it get into orbit, safe...
and take the most reliable launch provider, for moment sadly ASTRA is that not!
what let for customers those options: SpaceX, RocketLab (and Virgin Orbit )

And that's where the low price falls down. If your overall costs are just $10 million, then the insurance difference alone would easily be a million. When Proton got a bit wobbly it was at 12% compared to the more usual 4% and Astra is nowhere near Proton even at its worst.

And let's face it, if someone is booking a dedicated 500+kg class launch, they are not launching a $500k uninsured cubesat. TROPICS costs about $11 million a launch and that is with just $2.5 million for the rocket and a nudge from NASA to support dedicated launch.
That is why it's important to persistent with Rocket 3.0 and sort the bugs out. Having that flying reliably would give customers confidence in next LV.
« Last Edit: 08/05/2022 07:24 pm by zubenelgenubi »

Offline Redclaws

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Re: Astra Space
« Reply #812 on: 08/05/2022 06:39 pm »
I really though Astra might have a cost model (try not doing crazy QA) and market with DoD responsive launch, despite the general non-viability of the small launch market.  This … does not look good for them.  They’re abandoning what made them different.  Doesn’t mean it’s not a better choice than pressing on, but perhaps the best choice of all would be to fold.  They had some ideas and they didn’t work out.  Can they really pivot to a whole new thing and be better than others already doing it?

Even aside from serious questions about the new idea also.

Offline Dmitry_V_home

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Re: Astra Space
« Reply #813 on: 08/05/2022 06:40 pm »
i read that announcement

i my humble opinion: it's suicidal move for the Company
why ?
They drop almost working rocket for development of new bigger not tested rocket !
Mean they start all over again and need a lot money and testing that rocket.
if shareholders walk away here, its game over for Astra

For my part, i would replace the pressure fed second stage of 3.3 rocket by one that use a turbo pump fed engine.
it's cheaper and faster way to return launching...
A high performance electric turbopump engine would be ideal for upper stage and it's technology they know.

There's a problem here. Rocket 3 parameters are optimized for direct insert into a solar-synchronous orbit. The consequence of this is the long-term operation of the second stage engine. The use of electric pumps will lead to a significant increase in the mass of batteries (if the concept of continuous direct insert is transferred to 4.0).
The duration of continuous operation can become critical in the case of using turbo pumps.
The solution to the problem can be the transition to the concept of re-inclusion of the second stage. But this path has its own barriers.

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: Astra Space
« Reply #814 on: 08/05/2022 07:05 pm »

i read that announcement

i my humble opinion: it's suicidal move for the Company
why ?
They drop almost working rocket for development of new bigger not tested rocket !
Mean they start all over again and need a lot money and testing that rocket.
if shareholders walk away here, its game over for Astra

For my part, i would replace the pressure fed second stage of 3.3 rocket by one that use a turbo pump fed engine.
it's cheaper and faster way to return launching...
A high performance electric turbopump engine would be ideal for upper stage and it's technology they know.

There's a problem here. Rocket 3 parameters are optimized for direct insert into a solar-synchronous orbit. The consequence of this is the long-term operation of the second stage engine. The use of electric pumps will lead to a significant increase in the mass of batteries (if the concept of continuous direct insert is transferred to 4.0).
The duration of continuous operation can become critical in the case of using turbo pumps.
The solution to the problem can be the transition to the concept of re-inclusion of the second stage. But this path has its own barriers.

So the engine does long slow burn at lower throttle setting for transfer from initial orbit to SSO.
For this to significantly reduce pump efficiency on electric pump feed engine it would be very low throttle setting.
« Last Edit: 08/05/2022 07:24 pm by zubenelgenubi »

Offline GWH

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Re: Astra Space
« Reply #815 on: 08/05/2022 08:34 pm »
I really though Astra might have a cost model (try not doing crazy QA) and market with DoD responsive launch, despite the general non-viability of the small launch market.  This … does not look good for them.  They’re abandoning what made them different.  Doesn’t mean it’s not a better choice than pressing on, but perhaps the best choice of all would be to fold.  They had some ideas and they didn’t work out.  Can they really pivot to a whole new thing and be better than others already doing it?

Even aside from serious questions about the new idea also.

I always thought this model would have been their downfall. The idea that they can just "build it cheaper" to the tune of $2.5M and be successful just didn't seem viable. Far too many things to go wrong, and too much initial investment to pay it back.

There seems to be a price threshold of what can be an operationally successful rocket and its probably not much less than half the price of a Falcon 9.
Anything smaller/cheaper is going to need a launch frequency that no new company can hit until years after a successful test.

Offline Michel Van

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Re: Astra Space
« Reply #816 on: 08/06/2022 02:26 am »

Offline sdsds

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Re: Astra Space
« Reply #817 on: 08/06/2022 02:40 am »
The knives are out. Regarding ASTR a reliable source says, "This security is currently hard-to-borrow. Short sale orders for HTB securities may not be accepted...."
« Last Edit: 08/06/2022 02:40 am by sdsds »
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Offline ZuluLima

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Re: Astra Space
« Reply #818 on: 08/06/2022 07:07 am »
I really though Astra might have a cost model ...  They’re abandoning what made them different...  They had some ideas and they didn’t work out.  Can they really pivot to a whole new thing and be better than others already doing it?

They aren't abandoning their low cost philosophy or pivoting to anything.  Rocket 3 was always planned as a stepping stone to Rocket 4.  Since they no longer have any confidence in the small one, they are simply moving ahead with the big one in order to conserve resources and put all of their effort into what might actually pay off.  Looks bad that they couldn't deliver with Rocket 3, but even if they had, it would be flying at a loss.  With continued investment much harder to come by now, they are smart to cut the dead wood.  Other companies might persist and go bankrupt; at least Astra sees the problem and is being proactive.  If they don't make it, it won't be because they stopped throwing good money after bad.

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Re: Astra Space
« Reply #819 on: 08/06/2022 08:34 am »
I really though Astra might have a cost model ...  They’re abandoning what made them different...  They had some ideas and they didn’t work out.  Can they really pivot to a whole new thing and be better than others already doing it?

They aren't abandoning their low cost philosophy or pivoting to anything.  Rocket 3 was always planned as a stepping stone to Rocket 4.  Since they no longer have any confidence in the small one, they are simply moving ahead with the big one in order to conserve resources and put all of their effort into what might actually pay off.  Looks bad that they couldn't deliver with Rocket 3, but even if they had, it would be flying at a loss.  With continued investment much harder to come by now, they are smart to cut the dead wood.  Other companies might persist and go bankrupt; at least Astra sees the problem and is being proactive.  If they don't make it, it won't be because they stopped throwing good money after bad.

That said, something is changing about the design of Rocket 4. As noted over in Ars Technica's thread on this topic, using the mass ratios from Rocket 3, it's hard to imagine how just two Reaver-1 engines are enough to put 600kg into space. Not that two Reavers aren't enough in principle, but Rocket 3 was particularly inefficient due to the "cheap is better than good" design philosophy. So if Rocket 4 is to achieve its stated performance goals, it needs to actually be designed to have high quality -- which then raises the question of how it'll cost just $5 million per launch.

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