Astra

Courtesy of JOHN KRAUS

The Astra Space Inc. 3.1 rocket.

California-based rocket startup Astra Space Inc. has announced plans to conduct another launch attempt from Kodiak’s Pacific Spaceport Complex Alaska in the coming days or weeks.

The initial announcement, released earlier this week, said the launch window was scheduled for Aug. 30 to Sept. 3, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. each day. 

However, the company later announced that the window might be pushed back to Sept. 10-16 because of the unfavorable weather forecast during the earlier window.   

The upcoming launch effort follows another attempt that ended on Aug. 7, in which launches were cancelled several times during the five-day window for a variety of reasons. These included inclement weather and, in one instance, because a fishing vessel entered an area that was closed for the launch.  

The upcoming window will mark another attempt to launch Astra’s rocket version 3.1, an expendable, vertically launched, two-stage rocket. It’s “designed to fit inside a standard shipping container and built to dramatically lower the cost of access to space,” Astra said in a press release. 

The first stage of the rocket has five engines, while the upper stage, after the first-stage burn, has one engine. 

The company hopes to reach orbit and successfully complete a first-stage burn. 

“If we make it this far, we’ll be happy with our progress and be well on our way to reaching orbit within three flights,” wrote Astra on its blog. “The more we accomplish, the more we learn, and the closer we are to reaching orbit.”

During the launch windows, the spaceport will close roads, and restrict waterways and air access.

Temporary closure of Pasagshak Road to Fossil Beach will occur at the Spaceport’s entrance and Rocket Park starting four hours prior to the scheduled liftoff, and will remain until hazardous operations have concluded for the day. 

Details about restricted waterways and air access are available on the spaceport’s website. 

The launch attempt will occur amid a lawsuit between the startup, Astra Space Inc., and Colorado-based space company Atmospheric and Space Technology Research Associates LLC, or Astra for short. 

The Colorado company is suing the startup for $1 million for alleged trademark infringement and unfair competition. The plaintiff’s company was founded in 2005 and claims that the use of its name by the California startup has caused confusion. In court documents, the plaintiff said it has evidence of confusion among current and potential customers. The company also claims to have received invoices meant for the startup. 

According to the court documents, the California Astra was founded in 2005 under the name Ventions LLC. It was reincorporated as Astra Space, Inc. in 2016. The startup operated in stealth mode for nearly three years under a new name, “Stealth Space Company,” before rebranding itself under the name Astra in 2020. 

The California-based Astra declined to comment on the lawsuit. 

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