Astra laying off 16% of workforce, honing focus on development

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An Astra Space rocket awaits launch from Alaska. File photo courtesy of Astra Space

Nov. 9 (UPI) — California-based rocket company Astra will lay off 16% of its workforce, it announced with its quarterly financial report Tuesday.

The company reported a net loss of $199.1 million in the third quarter, including $133 million in impairment charges, and an adjusted EBITDA loss of $41.4 million. Its revenue was $2.8 million.

Reducing the workforce will help Astra save funds, a portion of which will be dedicated to resources for its core launch services and space products business. The company plans to begin layoffs in the first quarter of 2023. The company employs about 400 people, meaning about 60 would be expected to be terminated.

“Given the challenging macroeconomic environment, we made the difficult but prudent decision to reduce our operating expenses to support our primary near-term objectives,”said Chris Kemp, Astra co-founder, chairman and CEO.

The third quarter was the first in company history with a GAAP gross profit ($1.7 million). It ended with $151 million in cash on hand and securities. It has taken 237 orders for Astra Spacecraft Engines, an increase of 130% since June 30.

“We continue to focus on executing our long-term strategic plan,” Kemp said. “Specifically, a successful test flight of Rocket 4 and scaling delivery of our Astra Spacecraft Engines are our primary near-term objectives.”

The focus of the company in the fourth quarter will be developing Launch System 2, a hardware upgrade meant to be more reliable than its predecessor.

Stock in Astra is floundering in 2022, falling 94% to $0.58 per share at close on Tuesday. The situation may become even more dire with the NASDAQ threatening to de-list the stock last month. It is also being investigated by the Federal Aviation Administration after a failed launch in June. NASA attempted to launch a rocket carrying two small weather satellites when the second stage of the launch failed before reaching orbit.

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