Astra, the US-based space rocket startup that went public last year, has fired 16 per cent of its staff as part of a broader strategy to increase its shrinking financial runway and reduce expenses.
According to TechCrunch, the company stated that in order to expand its core business – namely launch engines and spacecraft – it will reduce short-term investments in space services, and with 237 orders dedicated to its spacecraft engines from companies such as Maxar, OneWeb and Astroscale, which is an increase of 2% 130 percent 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 land system, to replace the lightweight Rocket 3 vehicle, which has suffered a number of launch failures this year.
The company expects to conduct initial flight tests in late 2023, according to the report, while the layoffs highlight Astra’s rapid growth: CEO Chris Kemp told investors during a call that the company had tripled in size in just one year, to more than 400 person.
However, the company closed the quarter with $151 million in cash, reporting a net loss of $199.1 million and revenue of $2.8 million from its spacecraft engines. Astra expects to generate salary savings from layoffs in the first quarter of next year, the report said.
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