All posts tagged: Astra

Footage from 2020 shows Astra rocket exploding during prelaunch testing

Footage from 2020 shows Astra rocket exploding during prelaunch testing

[ad_1] Footage obtained by TechCrunch shows the catastrophic ending that Astra’s Rocket 3.0 suffered during prelaunch testing in March 2020. The explosion, which occurred at Alaska’s Pacific Spaceport Complex, was simply reported as an “anomaly” at the time, an industry term for pretty much any issue that deviates from the expected outcome. “I can confirm we had an anomaly on the launch pad,” Alaska Aerospace CEO Mark Lester told local reporters at the time. “We are executing our emergency checklist. We request everyone stay clear of the area to allow our crew to address the situation.” Meanwhile, Astra CEO Chris Kemp told TechCrunch at the time that the rocket “suffered an anomaly following an otherwise successful day of testing in Kodiak in preparation for a launch this week.” He added that the company’s hardware “was the only thing harmed.” He told a separate publication that the company would not be attempting a launch after that week, and that it would “wait until conditions with coronavirus improve before making another attempt” — when in actuality, there …

Vauxhall Astra and Astra Sports Tourer get mild hybrid op

Vauxhall Astra and Astra Sports Tourer get mild hybrid op

[ad_1] Vauxhall has announced that it is launching some new mild hybrid options for the Astra and Astra Sports Tourer, this will include a new 1.2-litre petrol engine that produces 136 horsepower and an electric motor that produces 28 horsepower. The cars come with a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and the hybrid powertrain results in lower fuel consumption of around 19%, they will be available in the Design, GS, and Ultimate trims and pricing starts at £30,025. The new hybrid powertrain, also available on New Corsa and Grandland, features a lithium-ion battery with a capacity of 0.89kWh which is automatically recharged under certain driving conditions. This is combined with a new generation of 1.2-litre three-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine specifically developed for hybridisation. It produces 136hp at 5,500rpm and maximum torque of 230Nm at 1,750rpm. The engine is paired to a new electrified six-speed dual clutch automatic transmission that has been designed for hybrid applications. A permanent magnet synchronous electric motor is integrated into the gearbox and produces peak power of 21kW (28hp) and maximum torque …

Astra founders propose purchasing outstanding stock to take space company private

Astra founders propose purchasing outstanding stock to take space company private

[ad_1] Astra founders Chris Kemp and Adam London have proposed taking the company private, with the two saying they would acquire all the outstanding stock themselves, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Thursday. Kemp, who is chairman and CEO, and London, chief technology officer, offered to purchase the outstanding stock at $1.50 a share. That is a 103% premium to the closing trading price of $0.74 per share. The founder pair delivered their proposal to Astra’s board of directors. From this point, the board will review and consider the proposal and “pursue the course of action that it believes is in the best interests of all of the Company’s unaffiliated stockholders.” It is unclear how long the board has to consider the plan, but the company is on the books to pay back a lifeline loan that will come due on November 17, so any decision will almost certainly be made before that date. Astra went public via a merger with a blank-check company, or SPAC, arguably at the height …

Astra secures new debt agreement with assets as collateral

Astra secures new debt agreement with assets as collateral

[ad_1] Astra has been thrown a critical lifeline in the form of new debt financing, which provides the company with a little more time to find funding to stave off catastrophe. The company said on Monday that it had closed $13.4 million in initial debt financing with JMCM Holdings LLC and Sherpa Venture Funds II, connected to a non-binding term sheet Astra filed with the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission in October. Per that document, Astra said it was working with the investors, including JMCM and Sherpa Venture, to raise $15 to $25 million. The new investors also agreed to provide Astra with a $3.05 million loan that will come due on November 17. Sherpa Venture Funds II is associated with Scott Stanford and his firm Acme. Stanford was an early investor in Astra and sits on its board of directors. The new debt financing replaces an earlier agreement that Astra had with investment group High Trail Capital from August – an agreement that Astra defaulted on last week. These new investors agreed to purchase the …

Astra Space weighs up selling parts of its business as it looks for cash

Astra Space weighs up selling parts of its business as it looks for cash

[ad_1] As Astra Space continues to search for a lifeline to avoid bankruptcy, the company is reportedly weighing up selling a 51% stake in its in-space propulsion business or selling other parts of the business, like equipment, Bloomberg reported last night. Astra would seek to value that business at more than $100 million, should it sell the majority stake. The company is also weighing up selling parts of its rocket factory, equipment, or parts of the propulsion business to bring in much-needed cash, sources told Bloomberg. The news isn’t a surprise: when people familiar with the matter told TechCrunch that Astra was splitting off its spacecraft propulsion business into a subsidiary, that person said part of the motivation was to open up new financing options for the company. The Alameda, California-based company has been trying to stave off bankruptcy for months. At the end of the second quarter of this year, Astra reported having just $26.3 million in cash and cash equivalents on hand. The company’s market cap now stands at around $24 million – …

Max Q: A rocket retirement and layoffs at Planet, Astra

Max Q: A rocket retirement and layoffs at Planet, Astra

[ad_1] Hello and welcome back to Max Q! In this issue: Goodbye Antares-230+ Layoffs at Planet and Astra By the way…We’re out-of-this-world excited to announce that we’ve added a dedicated Space Stage to TechCrunch Disrupt 2023. Plus, we’ve joined forces with the Aerospace Corporation to host the Space Domain Awareness Challenge Pitch-off for startups using AI to analyze satellite data streams. Learn more and apply here. OK, on to the news. The final Antares rocket built with components made in Russia and Ukraine lifted off from Wallops Island, Virginia last night, marking the end of a successful flight program and renewed pressure on Northrop Grumman and Firefly to develop its replacement. Good night Antares 230+! Image credit: NASA More news from across TC Astra has laid off 25% of its workforce since the beginning of the quarter and is reallocating 50 engineers and manufacturing staff to focus on its spacecraft engine business. Capella Space’s SAR imaging satellites are returning to Earth much sooner than the three years they were anticipated to operate, according to publicly available satellite data. Planet is laying off 10% …

Astra lays off 25% of workforce, reallocates engineers, in an effort to fight dwindling cash reserves

Astra lays off 25% of workforce, reallocates engineers, in an effort to fight dwindling cash reserves

[ad_1] Astra has laid off 25% of its workforce since the beginning of the quarter and is reallocating at least 50 engineers and manufacturing staff away from its launch business to focus on spacecraft production, the company said Friday. The reallocation and layoffs are expected to delay testing of the under-development Rocket 4 and Launch System 2.0, Astra said. The affected employees worked in the company’s launch, sales and administration and “shared services” departments. Workforce reductions are expected to save the company over $4 million per quarter beginning in the fourth quarter of this year. Astra, which is facing dwindling cash reserves, is no doubt looking for a way to further reduce operating expenses while also bolstering its spacecraft engine business, the only business unit that currently has a near-term chance of generating revenue. The spacecraft engine technology is sourced from Astra’s acquisition of propulsion developer Apollo Fusion, which closed the day Astra went public in July 2021. Indeed, Astra said that it had closed 278 committed orders of the Astra Spacecraft Engine product through the …

DataStax brings vector search to its Astra DB database service

DataStax brings vector search to its Astra DB database service

[ad_1] DataStax, the well-funded Apache Cassandra-centric database company, is placing a lot of its current bets on AI and its technology’s ability to provide highly scalable vector search capabilities to provide real-time context to generative AI models. Today, following a short public preview, the company is launching the vector search capabilities of its hosted Astra DB service into general availability. Vector databases have emerged as a foundational technology for generative AI. “If you’re a database company and you weren’t making this your top priority, I wouldn’t be able to understand that,” DataStax CPO Ed Anuff told me. “This is the most exciting thing that’s happened to databases in a very long time. It’s just super cool. Databases are pretty cool. They’re foundational and all that, but now being the system that provides memory for artificial intelligence — it completely changes why you get up in the morning.” DataStax customers can now use Astra DB’s new vector search capabilities on AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform, where it originally launched. DataStax Enterprises users who run …

Max Q: Astra Spacecraft Engines, Inc.

Max Q: Astra Spacecraft Engines, Inc.

[ad_1] Hello and welcome back to Max Q! I hope everyone had a wonderful July 4. In this issue: Astra’s corporate reorganization News from Pulsar Fusion and more Astra is carving out its spacecraft engine business as a wholly owned subsidiary, a corporate restructuring that will provide greater flexibility in hiring and financing, according to documents viewed by TechCrunch and a person familiar with the matter. I find this story interesting for two reasons. The first, and less important (at least to me), is that the subsidiary will be regulated under different export rules, which means that Astra will be able to hire people from outside the U.S. much more easily than they could under a single launch + spacecraft engine entity. The second, and more notable, reason is that establishing the subsidiary unlocks all sorts of financial options. This is interesting because many people have been wondering how Astra would continue to finance its launch business, given that it anticipates ending the second quarter with right around $30-33 million in the bank, with a quarterly cash …

Astra establishes subsidiary for spacecraft engine business

Astra establishes subsidiary for spacecraft engine business

[ad_1] Astra is carving out its spacecraft engine business as a wholly-owned subsidiary, a corporate restructuring that will provide greater flexibility in hiring and financing, according to documents viewed by TechCrunch and a person familiar with the matter. The new subsidiary, Astra Spacecraft Engines, Inc., was incorporated in Delaware on June 5 and filed with the state of California on June 13, corporate records show. However, the new arrangement has been in the works for some time, according to the source, who declined to be named for this story. There were two motives for the restructuring, related to operations and financing, the person said. American launch companies are governed by strict export control rules known as International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), while spacecraft component businesses are generally under the aegis of a different set of restrictions called Export Administration Regulations (EAR). While the two overlap substantially, they have key differences, related to who the company can sell to and even internal IT requirements. There are also differences in hiring. Under ITAR restrictions, companies need …