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Rocket startup Astra lays off 16% of its staff

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Astra, a US-based rocket startup that went public last year, has laid off 16 percent of its workforce as part of a broader strategy to expand its shrinking financial runway and cut costs.



According to TechCrunchthe company stated that in order to expand its core business, which is launch and spacecraft engines, it would reduce short-term investments in space services.

With 237 committed orders for its spacecraft engines from companies like Maxar, OneWeb and Astroscale, representing a 130 percent increase from the previous quarter, astra reported that the latter segment in particular has become a growing source of income.

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Astra is also developing Launch System 2, which includes a new rocket, software suite and ground system, to replace the lightweight Rocket 3 vehicle, which experienced a number of launch failures this year.

According to the report, the company expects to conduct the first flight tests by the end of 2023.

The layoffs shed unflattering light on Astra’s rapid growth: CEO Chris Kemp told investors during a call that the company has tripled in just a year and is growing to more than 400 people.

However, the company ended the quarter with $151 million in cash.

It reported net losses of $199.1 million and $2.8 million in revenue from its spacecraft engines. Astra expects the wage savings from the layoffs to materialize in the first quarter of next year, the report said.

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