Rocket builder Astra is preparing to launch from Florida for the first time as early as this weekend, with the company expecting to soon receive its Federal Aviation Administration license for a NASA mission.
The regulator plans to issue Astra’s license by Friday, the company said in a filing Tuesday, so Astra has scheduled time for the launch on Saturday.
Notably, this will be the first license the FAA issues under Part 450 – a new space industry framework designed to streamline the regulatory process for companies requesting both launch and spacecraft reentry licenses. Astra said that it’s been three months since it requested the license. This latest development will “make it easier for Astra to launch at a higher frequency out of more launch sites in the United States,” the company said.
Astra’s stock jumped as much as 15% in premarket trading on Tuesday from its previous close of $4.78. Shares gave up most of the day’s gains to trade up about 3.5% in the afternoon. The company’s valuation has been cut in half over the past three months, with Astra battered alongside other space growth stocks.
The company reached orbit for the first time three months ago with its LV0007 rocket, launched from Kodiak, Alaska.
Astra is now preparing to launch the ELaNa 41 mission, carrying four cubesatellites for NASA with its LV0008 rocket, in what would be the company’s first launch from Florida’s Cape Canaveral. Last week, Astra test fired the LV0008 rocket successfully at the Space Launch Complex 46 of the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.