Alameda Aerospace Company Awarded Government Contract

File photo -- Astra’s Rocket 3.3 vehicle lifts off March 15, 2022, from Kodiak Island, Alaska, carrying payloads for three customers in a mission arranged by Spaceflight.
File photo -- Astra’s Rocket 3.3 vehicle lifts off March 15, 2022, from Kodiak Island, Alaska, carrying payloads for three customers in a mission arranged by Spaceflight.

Alameda Aerospace Company Awarded Government Contract

Island-based Astra will launch rockets for Space Force

On April 20, Astra Space, Inc. was awarded a $11.5 million task order U.S. Space Force to conduct the Space Test Program (STP)-S29B launch service. The order for Astra’s Rocket 4 is part of the Orbital Services Program (OSP)-4 contract.

“The Space Force deliberately structured the OSP-4 contract to leverage emerging launch solutions for mission partners like the [Department of Defense] (DoD) Space Test Program,” said Lt. Col. Justin Beltz, chief of Space Systems Command’s Small Launch and Targets Division. “Today’s award reflects the tremendous promise industry is bringing to the table with systems like Rocket 4. We look forward to working with Astra to make this launch a success.”

According to the U.S. Space Force’s Space Systems Command, the STP-S29B is a complex mission that “will conduct scientific experiments and technology demonstrations with the goal of advancing DoD’s space capabilities. Astra will utilize its Rocket 4 to deliver the mission manifest to low earth orbit.”

The STP-S29B mission will provide orbital launch services for the DoD STP. The DoD STP furthers the maturation of space-based warfighter technologies across the DoD enterprise by providing space access solutions for all research and development-related DoD auxiliary payloads on DoD, civil and commercial launches. STP-S29B has an Initial Launch Capability set for April 2025.

“STP-S29B demands a higher level of mission assurance than previous Astra launches and therefore represents a significant increase in Astra’s coordination with the Space Force to perform a launch designed for mission success,” said Dr. Thomas Williams, senior director of Federal Sales at Astra, in a press release. “Astra’s ability to compete for this mission was based on the tremendous work that our team has done to design a repeatably reliable Rocket 4 and our previous experience successfully delivering multi-manifest missions to their desired orbits.”

The U.S. Space Force’s Small Launch and Targets Division’s Office is part of the Space Systems Command (SSC) Assured Access to Space organization. Space Systems Command is the U.S. Space Force’s field command responsible for acquiring and delivering resilient war fighting capabilities.

In related news, Astra Space, Inc. and Apex Technology, Inc. announced a contract for Astra to provide five Spacecraft Propulsion Kits for Apex’s satellite bus platform. Astra is expected to begin delivering the Spacecraft Propulsion Kits in 2023.

The Spacecraft Propulsion Kit disaggregates the four subsystems of the Astra Spacecraft Engine™ module: thruster, power processing unit, feed system, and tank. This disaggregation enables satellite builders to take advantage of shorter lead times to access key components of their propulsion system that they can customize for their unique missions. Astra is adopting the way development kits transform the software industry and applying it to hardware by providing the tools and support to accelerate spacecraft development at scale.

Apex’s 100 kg bus model, Aries, will use the Astra Spacecraft Engine™ to support its electric propulsion package.

“The Astra Spacecraft Engine has the flight heritage and the performance we need to deliver our satellite platforms to customers on schedule.” said Max Benassi, Chief Technology Officer of Apex, in a statement. “As Apex scales production, we look forward to continuing to work with suppliers like Astra who can meet our production ramp rates.”

Apex Space is a Stealth Aerospace Engineering Company. Astra was founded in 2016. Astra Space Inc. is headquartered at 1900 Skyhawk St. at Alameda Point.