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Astra Lands Engine Deals with Maxar, Astroscale 

By Rachel Jewett | October 13, 2022

The Astra Spacecraft Engine. Photo: Astra

Astra Space has signed deals to supply its Astra Spacecraft Engines to both Maxar Technologies and Astroscale, the company announced this week. 

Astra’s propulsion systems will be used in Maxar’s proliferated Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) spacecrafts, which support missions including Earth observation, communications, and national security. Astra expects to begin delivery of its spacecraft engines in 2023.

The engines will also support Astroscale’s ELSA-M satellite servicer platform, which is designed to capture and remove multiple satellites in a single LEO mission. The service is supported by the UK Space Agency and European Space Agency as part of the ESA Sunrise program, and the first mission is set to launch near the end of 2024.

“The Astra Spacecraft Engine’s flight heritage, reliability, and scalability were critical factors in selecting Astra as we prepare our ELSA-M platform for important customer missions, and we look forward to continue building a strong relationship with Mike [Cassidy] and his team,” said Ian Vanoorschot, Astroscale’s global head of procurement.

Astra announced the deals after Nasdaq sent the company a deficiency notice that its closing bid price has been below $1 for 30 consecutive business days. If Astra is not able to raise the price over $1 for 10 consecutive days, it could be delisted. 

Engine orders are one bright spot for the company as it is not launching until the next version of its rocket is complete. Astra acquired propulsion company Apollo Fusion in 2021. In its most recent financial results, Astra had 103 committed orders at the end of the second quarter. Other customers include York Space Systems and Spaceflight’s Orbital Transfer Vehicle (OTV) Sherpa-LTE.