Footage from 2020 shows Astra rocket exploding during prelaunch testing

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Footage obtained by TechCrunch shows nan catastrophic ending that Astra’s Rocket 3.0 suffered during prelaunch testing successful March 2020.

The explosion, which occurred astatine Alaska’s Pacific Spaceport Complex, was simply reported arsenic an “anomaly” astatine nan time, an manufacture word for beautiful overmuch immoderate rumor that deviates from nan expected outcome.

“I tin corroborate we had an anomaly connected nan motorboat pad,” Alaska Aerospace CEO Mark Lester told section reporters astatine nan time. “We are executing our emergency checklist. We petition everyone enactment clear of nan area to let our unit to reside nan situation.”

Meanwhile, Astra CEO Chris Kemp told TechCrunch astatine nan clip that nan rocket “suffered an anomaly pursuing an different successful time of testing successful Kodiak successful mentation for a motorboat this week.” He added that nan company’s hardware “was nan only point harmed.” He told a abstracted publication that nan institution would not beryllium attempting a motorboat aft that week, and that it would “wait until conditions pinch coronavirus amended earlier making different attempt” – erstwhile successful actuality, location was nary longer a rocket to launch.

The video clip shows nan micro launcher burst into flames. It’s clear nan conveyance did not survive. It would person been Astra’s 3rd orbital motorboat attempt.

At nan time, Astra was taking specified failures successful stride. When nan institution emerged from stealth earlier that year, it did truthful pinch a condemnation that it could build rockets astatine specified a precocious volume, and astatine specified a debased price, that immoderate magnitude of nonaccomplishment could beryllium priced in: 100 percent reliability was not nan extremity goal. That’s really Kemp summed it up in a May 2022 interview: “The anticipation I deliberation that a batch of group person is each motorboat has to beryllium perfect,” he said. “I deliberation what Astra has to do, really, is we person to person truthful galore launches cipher thinks astir it anymore.”

Astra went connected to scope orbit for nan first clip successful November 2021, and a 2nd clip successful March 2022.

Astra had been 1 of nan biggest occurrence stories for abstraction manufacture investors, pinch nan startup going nationalist successful July 2021 astatine a $2.1 cardinal valuation aft rasising astir $500 cardinal for its ultra-low-cost motorboat plans. But those plans grounded to materialize, and aft months of burning cash, Astra’s committee quietly accepted a take-private deal from Kemp and CTO Adam London astatine a banal value of conscionable $0.50 per share. The woody is expected to adjacent sometime this quarter, astatine which clip Astra will cease trading connected nan Nasdaq.

Astra did not return a petition for remark connected nan 2020 motorboat failure.