San Francisco, Nov 10 (UiTV/IANS) – Astra, a rocket startup based in the US that went public last year, has fired 16 per cent of its staff as part of a wider strategy to increase the shrinking financial runway and decrease expenses.
According to TechCrunch, the company mentioned that in order to expand its core businesses — namely, launch and spacecraft engines, it would reduce near-term investments in space services.
With 237 committed orders for its spacecraft engines from companies like Maxar, OneWeb, and Astroscale, which represents an increase of 130 per cent from the previous quarter, Astra reported that this latter segment in particular has become a growing source of revenue.
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.
The company expects to conduct initial flight tests in late 2023, according to the report.
The layoffs shine an unflattering light on Astra’s quick growth: CEO Chris Kemp told investors during a call that the company tripled in size in just a year, growing to more than 400 people.
However, the company concluded the quarter with $151 million in cash.
It reported a net loss of $199.1 million and $2.8 million in revenue from its spacecraft engines. Astra expects payroll savings from the layoffs to be realised in the first quarter of next year, said the report.