Meet Astra, the DARPA darling of the space world.
Until speaking with Bloomberg Businessweek, Astra, the three-year-old rocket startup behind the test, had operated in secret, rolling nitrogen clouds aside. The company’s founders say they want to be the FedEx Corp. of space. They’re aiming to create small, cheap rockets that can be mass-produced to facilitate daily spaceflights, delivering satellites into low-Earth orbit for as little as $1 million per launch. If Astra’s planned Kodiak flight succeeds on Feb. 21, it will have put a rocket into orbit at a record-setting pace. Chief Executive Officer Chris Kemp says he’s focused less on this particular launch than on the logistics of creating many more rockets. “We have taken a much broader look at how we scale the business,” he says.
Oh, the FedEx of space. Did FedEx start with MIC assistance? I’m all for private companies taking over from NASA – it’s the way of the future – but with DARPA backing? Really?