So you're suggesting that Astra's equipment and facilities for mass-producing rocket bodies could end up acquired for pennies on the dollar by someone who'll use it for building hypersonic missiles? I guess I can't discount that possibility.
RL HASTE is only being used to test hypersonic vehicle technologies. Not enough flights a year to sustain Electron if that was its only business. As extra to launch business makes all difference between getting by and making decent profit. Any developed hypersonic weapons will use storable fuels. The military gave up using kerolox for ballistic missiles decades ago as they were to much hassle.
Quote from: TrevorMonty on 07/10/2023 08:42 pmRL HASTE is only being used to test hypersonic vehicle technologies. Not enough flights a year to sustain Electron if that was its only business. As extra to launch business makes all difference between getting by and making decent profit. Any developed hypersonic weapons will use storable fuels. The military gave up using kerolox for ballistic missiles decades ago as they were to much hassle.Draper is basically the storable version of Hadley, being used for Astraís upper stage.
In a quarterly earnings call, Astra CEO Chris Kemp says the recent shift of 50 employees from launch services to space engines will delay first test flight of Rocket 4 into 2024. Recent layoff of 25% of Astra's staff was necessary to "manage our cash burn and financial runway."
We have the first-stage engines. Those are actual flight engines that are in the process of qualification, but those were [engines] that we will fly on the first flight with the final hardware. So weíre in the qualification of the first-stage engine. That engine will have a ton of Astra hardware on it. Itís got an Astra computer, itís got Astra software on it. It has gimbals. It have valves that are all new valves. So itís almost entirely our engine at this point. Those engines are in final qualification.
ďTheyíre definitely not Reaver engines at this point. I am unable to comment on any contractual relationship that may or may not exist between Astra and Firefly. However, what I will say is that our team has spent a tremendous amount of energy working on an engine and putting in a lot of Astra parts and Astra engineering and Astra testing. The Reaver engine only has one gimbaling axis [for steering]. So obviously this is not a Reaver engine. The Reaver engine does not have the ability to vary its thrust and mixture ratio. The Reaver engine has a very different qualification and testing regime. "I can tell you this: We are not buying Reaver engines and putting them on this rocket. I can tell you several years ago, we started with something that has turned into something which is very much an Astra engine (Astra calls this engine the Chiron). How Firefly has or has not contributed to that effort, I really canít comment on.Ē
Astra's Rocket Production Line leverages advanced automation inspired by the automotive industry for the production of Rocket 4:
Fresh hardware coming off the Rocket Production Line before leaving for testing. See the full Rocket Production Line in action here:youtu.be/fenRmzOGKgI