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In this release:
- Layoffs come to Astra
- News from NASA, Starlink and more
Astra, a rocket startup that went public last year, told investors on Tuesday it has laid off 16% of its staff as part of a broader strategy to increase its shrinking financial runway and cut costs.
The company also said it would reduce short-term investment in space services to grow its core business: namely launch and spacecraft engines. This latter segment, in particular, has become a growing source of revenue for Astra, with the company reporting that it had 237 committed orders for its spacecraft engines to entities such as Maxar, OneWeb and Astroscale. That is an increase of 130% compared to the previous quarter.
The layoffs shed an unflattering light on Astra’s rapid growth: CEO Chris Kemp told investors during a phone call on Tuesday that the company had tripled in the space of a year, growing to more than 400 people. Given that number, Astra reduced its workforce by at least 64 people.
Major space companies, including SpaceX and Relativity, are urging the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to stick to its jurisdiction — spectrum use — as it appears to be rules for in-space service, assembly, and production (ISAM) missions. possible to update.
There is enough that the FCC could — and should — do to support ISAM missions that are fully within legal limits, the companies said. SpaceX and others, as well as startups such as Orbit Fab, which aims to build tank depots in space, and Starfish Space, which is developing a satellite service vehicle, have made recommendations regarding spectrum and ISAM. The committee also heard from Blue Origin, Lockheed Martin, United Launch Alliance and other aerospace companies and industrial groups.
Here’s SpaceX: “The Commission must be careful with this potentially important yet emerging industry and be careful not to inadvertently suppress innovation by stepping outside the authority expressly delegated to it by Congress.”
More news from TC and beyond
- Apple Invested $450 million in upgrades to Globalstar’s ground infrastructure and satellite network to support the deployment of Emergency SOS via satellite for iPhone 14 users. (Apple)
- China reportedly scrapped plans to make the Long March 9 heavy-lift rocket booster replaceable in favor of a fully reusable booster. (Space news)
- NASA didn’t move the Space Launch System rocket back to the safety of a hangar before Hurricane Nicole approached, so the $4.1 billion rocket rode out of the storm on the launch pad. While engineers continue to inspect the rocket for damage, the agency decided to move the next launch date to November 16. (NASA)
- Northrop GrummanThe Antares rocket sent a Cygnus spacecraft to the International Space Station for cargo resupply, a successful mission despite one of the capsule’s solar panels not deploying properly. (Northrop Grumman)
- Rocket Lab had a lot of news this week — in addition to releasing its quarterly financial results, the company also announced it won a $14 million contract to supply separation systems for US Space Force satellites. (Rocket Lab)
- Rocket Lab set a start date for his first mission from US soil: December 7. My personal suggestion: come to the TC Sessions: Space event on December 6 and then take a direct flight to Virginia. Just say it. (Rocket Lab)
- Seraphim announced the latest cohort of space startups that will participate in the Seraphim Space Accelerator and Generation Space Accelerator. (Seraphim)
- SpaceX will impose slower speeds on Starlink users who consume large amounts of power during peak hours, in an effort to curb network congestion and improve performance. (CNBC)
- starfish space gave more details about its demonstration mission in space to build satellites that will take place next year. (GeekWire)
- virgin job received a $25 million cash injection from Richard Branson’s Virgin Group as the launcher’s available cash continues to dwindle. (virgin job)
- Voyager Spaces Nanoracks has a new CEO: NASA astronaut and former OneWeb Technologies president Tim Kopra. (Voyager)
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