- Elon Musk praised California-based company Astra Space for reaching orbit for the first time.
- The company’s rocket hit its finish line nine minutes after takeoff, according to CNBC.
- “Congratulations! Orbit is not easy,” Musk wrote in a tweet to Astra.
On Saturday, the launcher, which specializes in launchers, blew up its LV0007 rocket from the Pacific Spaceport Complex on Kodiak Island, Alaska, CNBC reported.
After a steady lift, the 43-foot rocket, which carried a test payload for the US space force, reached its target trajectory after about nine minutes at an altitude of 500 kilometers.
The performance was met with praise from Musk and other people in the space industry. “Congratulations! Orbit is not easy,” CEO of SpaceX and Tesla wrote in a tweet to Astra.
Astra joins SpaceX, Rocket Lab and Virgin Orbit in the select group of US space companies that have reached orbit with a privately funded rocket, according to CNBC.
Astra CEO Chris Kemp said on the company’s webcast, “This is an incredibly difficult thing to do,” CNBC reported.
“The team has been working so hard on this for so many years and … seeing repetition after repetition, failure after failure leads to success; everyone is just incredibly passionate,” Kemp added.
The company’s launch follows a series of failed attempts to reach orbit. In its last attempt in August, one of the five main engines of the vehicle shut down just after take-off, Insider reported.
Astra hopes to eventually be able to launch as many of its small rockets as it can, and strive to launch one a day by 2025, according to CNBC.
SpaceX will perform tests in December ahead of the January flight.
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