Author Topic: Astra Space  (Read 289364 times)

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: Astra Space
« Reply #700 on: 05/13/2022 05:53 pm »
Their business model is totally reliant on very flight rates to keep prices down. If these don't materialize they are stuck with very large and expensive factory with low production rate which will bankrupt company in very short time.

If the plan is to pursue reuse then they scale for smaller production rates and initial LVs become more expensive. As we've seen from RL and SpaceX perfecting RLVs takes lot of time. Typical 2 years achieve recovery and another 1-2 years to refine LV design and recovery systems. RL has way to go until their LV and systems are perfected.

Unfortunately for Astra time isn't on their side. There are few 1000-1500kg class LVs coming on line in next year or two. These have similar $kg and compete head on in constellation launch market that Astra are targeting.



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Offline Blackjax

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Re: Astra Space
« Reply #701 on: 05/13/2022 07:32 pm »
Unfortunately for Astra time isn't on their side. There are few 1000-1500kg class LVs coming on line in next year or two. These have similar $kg and compete head on in constellation launch market that Astra are targeting.

Is that the whole picture of the market they are targeting though?  My impression is that they, Virgin Orbit, and ABL have a major emphasis on national security/responsive space payloads for governments globally.  While I am sure they would love to do commercial constellations if they can land some of that business, I am not sure that their business model is primarily reliant on that gamble. 

Online trimeta

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Re: Astra Space
« Reply #702 on: 05/13/2022 07:53 pm »
Unfortunately for Astra time isn't on their side. There are few 1000-1500kg class LVs coming on line in next year or two. These have similar $kg and compete head on in constellation launch market that Astra are targeting.

Is that the whole picture of the market they are targeting though?  My impression is that they, Virgin Orbit, and ABL have a major emphasis on national security/responsive space payloads for governments globally.  While I am sure they would love to do commercial constellations if they can land some of that business, I am not sure that their business model is primarily reliant on that gamble.

There's definitely a market for quick-response launches for governments that don't depend on fixed ground infrastructure, but I can't imagine that market is very large, either in terms of "number of providers which it can sustain" or "number of launches it will entail." Astra in particular appears to be ill-suited to this market, because a handful of contracts from the military doesn't give them the extremely high flight rates they seem to be depending on for economies of scale. Someone like ABL, which may be better-positioned to capture the commercial market with their much larger launcher (that still allegedly costs the same as Virgin Orbit's LauncherOne) would be my bet to win here.

Offline novak

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Re: Astra Space
« Reply #703 on: 05/14/2022 12:59 am »
They have some hardware, they didn't build or test the reaver engine in that video, it would appear. That's a firefly test stand.
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Offline M.E.T.

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Re: Astra Space
« Reply #704 on: 05/14/2022 01:32 am »
Realisation slowly dawning that almost none of the small launch New Space companies’ business cases make sense.

They require improbably high launch rates to justify the significant investments made to get to orbit, let alone support continuing operations thereafter.
« Last Edit: 05/14/2022 01:32 am by M.E.T. »

Offline Zed_Noir

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Re: Astra Space
« Reply #705 on: 05/14/2022 01:44 am »
Realisation slowly dawning that almost none of the small launch New Space companies’ business cases make sense.

They require improbably high launch rates to justify the significant investments made to get to orbit, let alone support continuing operations thereafter.
Those high launch rates were there before the "Raidshare" rides offer by the those folks from Hawthorne suck up most of the smallsat payloads.

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: Astra Space
« Reply #706 on: 05/14/2022 03:04 am »
Very slim possibility, but I'd be darned if all TROPICS cubesats will be taken by SpaceX as an exclusive rideshare at the last second. Not referring to Transporter since that goes to SSO only.

Or maybe I'm just joking.
6 cubesats isn't much of launch contract.

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Offline Blackjax

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Re: Astra Space
« Reply #707 on: 05/14/2022 03:33 am »
Unfortunately for Astra time isn't on their side. There are few 1000-1500kg class LVs coming on line in next year or two. These have similar $kg and compete head on in constellation launch market that Astra are targeting.

Is that the whole picture of the market they are targeting though?  My impression is that they, Virgin Orbit, and ABL have a major emphasis on national security/responsive space payloads for governments globally.  While I am sure they would love to do commercial constellations if they can land some of that business, I am not sure that their business model is primarily reliant on that gamble.

There's definitely a market for quick-response launches for governments that don't depend on fixed ground infrastructure, but I can't imagine that market is very large, either in terms of "number of providers which it can sustain" or "number of launches it will entail." Astra in particular appears to be ill-suited to this market, because a handful of contracts from the military doesn't give them the extremely high flight rates they seem to be depending on for economies of scale. Someone like ABL, which may be better-positioned to capture the commercial market with their much larger launcher (that still allegedly costs the same as Virgin Orbit's LauncherOne) would be my bet to win here.

I have not seen, and probably never will see, any accounting for how many how many top secret national security launches there might be even for the US alone, let alone other governments.  It could be zero or very large, given the lack of public info I won't speculate but perhaps you have access to more than me.

That said, payment for the actual launches would be only one revenue stream.  Some players might pay a retainer fee that would subsidize the ongoing costs of the infrastructure to provide the capability, so it is available on demand.  Consider what ULA was paid for ensuring their ongoing services for example and ask how much of the ongoing costs of a little outfit like Astra that would pay for.  In a world where there are rising tensions with two powers (russia and china) that have antisatellite capabilities, I don't think it's outside the realm of possibility that national security planners might be thinking this capability is worth paying for, and they have much deeper pockets than NASA.

Offline M.E.T.

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Re: Astra Space
« Reply #708 on: 05/14/2022 04:23 am »
Realisation slowly dawning that almost none of the small launch New Space companies’ business cases make sense.

They require improbably high launch rates to justify the significant investments made to get to orbit, let alone support continuing operations thereafter.
Those high launch rates were there before the "Raidshare" rides offer by the those folks from Hawthorne suck up most of the smallsat payloads.

So (not directed at you, I’m just wondering) did the small launch start ups in the 2015-2020 period just hope like hell that the Hawthorne crowd would not succeed in rapid reuse? Because cheap rideshare was a logical consequence of low cost access to orbit.

Nothing about the current situation was not easily foreseeable. In fact, many of us did just that. Foresee it that is. And proclaim it to all who would listen.
« Last Edit: 05/14/2022 05:51 am by M.E.T. »

Offline ringsider

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Re: Astra Space
« Reply #709 on: 05/14/2022 10:23 pm »
Realisation slowly dawning that almost none of the small launch New Space companies’ business cases make sense.

They require improbably high launch rates to justify the significant investments made to get to orbit, let alone support continuing operations thereafter.
Those high launch rates were there before the "Raidshare" rides offer by the those folks from Hawthorne suck up most of the smallsat payloads.

So (not directed at you, I’m just wondering) did the small launch start ups in the 2015-2020 period just hope like hell that the Hawthorne crowd would not succeed in rapid reuse? Because cheap rideshare was a logical consequence of low cost access to orbit.

Nothing about the current situation was not easily foreseeable. In fact, many of us did just that. Foresee it that is. And proclaim it to all who would listen.
Opinions about lack of demand for dedicated smallsat launches are somewhat disproved by the current data.

For example, as of February 2022 Rocket Lab has a $545m backlog:-

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/rocket-lab-announces-fourth-quarter-210500598.html

That's 50-70 launches (depending on price) of demand locked in for one small launcher. That's quite a manifest.
« Last Edit: 05/14/2022 10:23 pm by ringsider »

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: Astra Space
« Reply #710 on: 05/15/2022 04:40 am »
Realisation slowly dawning that almost none of the small launch New Space companies’ business cases make sense.

They require improbably high launch rates to justify the significant investments made to get to orbit, let alone support continuing operations thereafter.
Those high launch rates were there before the "Raidshare" rides offer by the those folks from Hawthorne suck up most of the smallsat payloads.

So (not directed at you, I’m just wondering) did the small launch start ups in the 2015-2020 period just hope like hell that the Hawthorne crowd would not succeed in rapid reuse? Because cheap rideshare was a logical consequence of low cost access to orbit.

Nothing about the current situation was not easily foreseeable. In fact, many of us did just that. Foresee it that is. And proclaim it to all who would listen.
Opinions about lack of demand for dedicated smallsat launches are somewhat disproved by the current data.

For example, as of February 2022 Rocket Lab has a $545m backlog:-

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/rocket-lab-announces-fourth-quarter-210500598.html

That's 50-70 launches (depending on price) of demand locked in for one small launcher. That's quite a manifest.

That backlog is across all RL businesses with space systems now likely to be more than 50% given recent acquisitions.

« Last Edit: 05/15/2022 04:42 am by TrevorMonty »

Offline zubenelgenubi

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Re: Astra Space
« Reply #711 on: 05/17/2022 08:22 pm »
The three TROPICS launches TBD:
https://twitter.com/StephenClark1/status/1526607162025328642

Quote
Janet Petro, director of KSC, showed this slide of 2022 key milestones at a Space Transportation Association event.

It shows Artemis 1’s launch no earlier than August.

Astra’s three launches of NASA’s TROPICS CubeSats are TBD as Astra is “working through some issues,” she said.
« Last Edit: 05/17/2022 08:28 pm by zubenelgenubi »
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Offline josephus

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Re: Astra Space
« Reply #712 on: 05/18/2022 09:07 pm »
Very slim possibility, but I'd be darned if all TROPICS cubesats will be taken by SpaceX as an exclusive rideshare at the last second. Not referring to Transporter since that goes to SSO only.

Or maybe I'm just joking.
6 cubesats isn't much of launch contract.

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The significance of the TROPICS mission for Astra lies in Astra competing and winning against SpaceX, Virgin Orbit, Rocket Lab (and Momentus) for that launch contract. NASA's conclusions in the "Evaluation of Proposals" part turned out to be pretty accurate. The TROPICS decision document is here: https://govtribe.com/file/government-file/tropics-decision-document-signed-dot-pdf
Let me see what nuclear spring is like on Jupiter and Mars

Offline novak

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Re: Astra Space
« Reply #713 on: 05/19/2022 05:49 am »
The significance of the TROPICS mission for Astra lies in Astra competing and winning against SpaceX, Virgin Orbit, Rocket Lab (and Momentus) for that launch contract. NASA's conclusions in the "Evaluation of Proposals" part turned out to be pretty accurate. The TROPICS decision document is here: https://govtribe.com/file/government-file/tropics-decision-document-signed-dot-pdf

Competing and losing $250M/year is debatable for if it's winning.  I do think it's still exciting to see so much general innovation and talent being bred to develop LVs but I question if astra is really competing.  Seems like they've bought a lot of IP and they need to see if they can manufacture cheaply enough and fly often enough to make their low prices real.  An interesting/exciting position for sure, regardless of what you think of them.

Side note, you should have put virgin orbit in quotes since they were the only one not even considered in this decision, apparently due to noncompetitive pricing.
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Offline josephus

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Re: Astra Space
« Reply #714 on: 05/19/2022 09:05 pm »
The significance of the TROPICS mission for Astra lies in Astra competing and winning against SpaceX, Virgin Orbit, Rocket Lab (and Momentus) for that launch contract. NASA's conclusions in the "Evaluation of Proposals" part turned out to be pretty accurate. The TROPICS decision document is here: https://govtribe.com/file/government-file/tropics-decision-document-signed-dot-pdf

Competing and losing $250M/year is debatable for if it's winning.  I do think it's still exciting to see so much general innovation and talent being bred to develop LVs but I question if astra is really competing.  Seems like they've bought a lot of IP and they need to see if they can manufacture cheaply enough and fly often enough to make their low prices real.  An interesting/exciting position for sure, regardless of what you think of them.

I think that all launcher companies in the whole world including SpaceX are losing money. A better question could be how that money is spent. Astra has spent its money on establishing that its LV can actually deliver satellites to an SSO, its Alameda factory, new talent (a shoutout to Bryson Gentile), Firefly's IP and Apollo Fusion. Space is hard and even if Astra should fail, the powerslide launch and the "fairings won't open" launch will always remain in my memory as the most KSP IRL launches ever :D

Astra bought IP from Firefly and it acquired Apollo Fusion. I am unaware of any further IP bought by Astra, all other Astra's IP seems to be inhouse. Do you have more information on this?

Side note, you should have put virgin orbit in quotes since they were the only one not even considered in this decision, apparently due to noncompetitive pricing.

Momentus was the only competitor which offered to take NASA satellites to space while it had no LV and no plans to develop one. This is the reason why I put Momentus in brackets.
Let me see what nuclear spring is like on Jupiter and Mars

Offline MGD

Re: Astra Space
« Reply #715 on: 05/26/2022 12:00 pm »
The three TROPICS launches TBD:
https://twitter.com/StephenClark1/status/1526607162025328642

Quote
Janet Petro, director of KSC, showed this slide of 2022 key milestones at a Space Transportation Association event.

It shows Artemis 1’s launch no earlier than August.

Astra’s three launches of NASA’s TROPICS CubeSats are TBD as Astra is “working through some issues,” she said.

I have found the picture from space (Sentitel) and have found something that looks like as rocket on SLC-46 in Cap Canaveral. I think that it is Astra rocket for TROPICS mission. The date of this pictrue is May 25th, 2022

Offline josephus

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Re: Astra Space
« Reply #716 on: 05/30/2022 08:01 pm »
LV0010 is on the launchpad 8)
Are we going to create a separate thread for all 3 Astra's TROPICS launches?

https://twitter.com/Astra/status/1531354329554137088?cxt=HHwWgMCl5capu8AqAAAA

EDIT: Someone has already created one:
https://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=56445.0

Shouldn't Astra get its own subsection in the "COMMERCIAL AND US GOVERNMENT LAUNCH VEHICLES" section?
« Last Edit: 05/30/2022 08:05 pm by josephus »
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Re: Astra Space
« Reply #717 on: 05/30/2022 08:53 pm »


Shouldn't Astra get its own subsection in the "COMMERCIAL AND US GOVERNMENT LAUNCH VEHICLES" section?

Please yes  8)
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Online edkyle99

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Re: Astra Space
« Reply #718 on: 05/30/2022 09:48 pm »


Shouldn't Astra get its own subsection in the "COMMERCIAL AND US GOVERNMENT LAUNCH VEHICLES" section?

Please yes  8)
Yes.  Long overdue.  Sixteen different launch vehicles have attempted orbit this year.  Only one of the companies or countries responsible for these 16 (Astra) does not have its own section here.  Astra Rocket 3.3 is one of only seven launch vehicles or LV families that has flown more than once this year!

 - Ed Kyle
« Last Edit: 05/30/2022 09:55 pm by edkyle99 »

Offline Celeste_El

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Re: Astra Space
« Reply #719 on: 06/01/2022 03:49 am »
Just as an aside to the static fire video they showed during the investor day presentation. It was mentioned that they built a static fire stand of their own to test the new engine. I was looking around and it looks like they set up shop outside castle airport in Atwater CA. Specifically 2500 Test cell which, based on google maps photos, is identical to the pictures they showed in the presentation. Additionally, In the last image you can see some planes in the background that can also be seen behind the stand on google maps. 

Astra has also done Rocket 3 static fires at castle airport before.

tinyurl.com/mrsp4spd
« Last Edit: 06/01/2022 10:57 am by Chris Bergin »

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