Astra’s stock takes a wild ride after rocket launch
During a webcast of the launch, Astra product manager Carolina Grossman warned that the company would not know immediately if the satellites were deploying safely, as the rocket was unable to send ground readings within minutes of reaching orbit. .
After the launch, 30 minutes of silence passed. Astra’s stock lost more than 10% of its value and trading was briefly halted.
The test highlights just how volatile it can be to invest in a rocket business, especially when they choose to fire a rocket during trading hours.
Now, the company’s stock is consistently below the $4 per share mark, a far cry from its peak of over $16 per share.
Astra is one of dozens of companies planning to use relatively small and lightweight rockets to make frequent trips into space to drop off satellites – not to be confused with the much larger rockets launched by SpaceX from Elon Musk, or the suborbital space tourism rocket developed by Jeff Bezos’ company, Blue Origin.
Astra, Rocket Lab and California-based Virgin Orbit are among the only startups that have now proven their rockets can get the job done.
That’s not to say Astra and the others can’t or won’t succeed. But the company faces fierce competition.
When asked in a Q&A posted online how Astra plans to stand out in such a crowded industry, Adam London, Astra’s Founder and Chief Technology Officer, said “Rockets are typically crafts and crafts. You craft one at a time, and they’re very complicated. But when you really get into them, they don’t need to be that complicated, especially when you’re not transporting people or critical domestic assets, and they absolutely, positively, need to be running 100% of the time .”
In other words, Astra plans to mass-produce rockets to make them cheaper, but it doesn’t put too much emphasis on a flawless success rate.
And that means his stock will likely continue to be a wild ride for the foreseeable future.
But that’s not necessarily a bad thing, said Micah Walter-Range, president of space consultancy Caelus Partners.
“The stock market fluctuations related to the Astra launch can be seen as a positive sign as investors monitor the company’s progress and actively engage in the space industry,” he said by email. “Market movements also indicate that this is still an emerging industry, and we look forward to the day when launches are viewed in the same way as airline flights, where investors are watching for general trends. but not each individual flight.”