Astra Space Inc., the American launch vehicle company based in Alameda, California, has reduced its headcount by 25 per cent. That means, about 70 people will be rendered jobless. The company has also reallocated some employees from the engineering and manufacturing divisions of its launch-services project, to its spacecraft engine building team.
This downsizing is an attempt to cut costs and focus on other projects. The move will further delay the launch of its next-generation rocket and associated test flights. The debut flight was earlier scheduled for the end of this year.
Astra had also decided to sell $12.5 million in senior secured notes and warrants for up to 22.5 million of its shares.
A year ago, following several failures and complaints from customers, the company had decided to discontinue its Rocket 3.3 launch vehicle, which was used to launch small satellites. The firm had chosen to concentrate instead on Rocket 4, which was being designed as a bigger launch vehicle.
The decade old Ventions, LLC, a San Francisco-based aerospace research and design firm had been reincorporated as Astra Space Inc. in 2016.
It was in February 2021 that Astra had revealed its plan to go public via a reverse merger with Holicity, a special-purpose acquisition company. The merger deal valued Astra at a $2.1 billion enterprise value. Almost immediately after, Benjamin Lloyn, from Apple, had joined Astra as chief engineer.