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Astra Rocket to Be Launched for NASA from Cape Canaveral for the First Time

This year will certainly be remembered for the pioneering civilian space travels, which were just a part of the booming space industry. One of the startups that quickly rose to the top is already gearing up to start operating from a second U.S. spaceport.
Astra will launch a rocket from Cape Canaveral for the first time, in January 2022 7 photos
Astra RocketAstra RocketAstra RocketAstra Rocket FairingSpace Launch Complex-46 in Cape CanaveralAstra Rocket
Astra is already a record-breaking brand, as the fastest privately-funded company in history to go to space – in just five years, it was already launching its first customer payloads, starting from this summer. It all started in 2017, when a former jet engine test facility at the Alameda Naval Air Station, in California, was renovated and turned into a Rocket Development and Test Facility. By the following year, the first two Astra rockets were launched from Kodiak, Alaska.

A huge milestone was reached in 2019, when Astra was selected as one of the three finalists in the DARPA Launch Challenge. An extended rocket factory and the company’s first spaceport, at the Pacific Spaceport Complex in Kodiak, were completed. This year, Astra became the first rocket company to reach orbit, in less than five years.

The next milestone is coming up soon, as the company will deploy the first satellite for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), in January 2022. This will be Astra’s first launch from Cape Canaveral, where the Space Launch Complex 46 (SLC-46) is located. Space Launch Delta 45 (SLD 45), part of the United States Space Force, has helped the Californian startup obtain the approval for this launch in months, instead of years, which is a record-breaking time.

This particular launch site is a historic one, but hasn’t been used since 2019, which is why it’s impressive that SLD 45 managed to get it ready for a new launch mission in less than a year. For Astra, this is a welcomed addition that broadens its market, so that it can collaborate with various partners who have different needs in terms of payload.

Those who want to watch the first launch out of Cape Canaveral in four years will be able to see the livestreamed event in January 2022, shared by Astra and NASASpaceFlight.

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