Max Q: Astra Spacecraft Engines, Inc.

Hello and welcome back to Max Q! I hope everyone had a wonderful July 4.

In this issue:

  • Astra’s corporate reorganization
  • News from Pulsar Fusion and more

Astra is carving out its spacecraft engine business as a wholly owned subsidiary, a corporate restructuring that will provide greater flexibility in hiring and financing, according to documents viewed by TechCrunch and a person familiar with the matter.

I find this story interesting for two reasons. The first, and less important (at least to me), is that the subsidiary will be regulated under different export rules, which means that Astra will be able to hire people from outside the U.S. much more easily than they could under a single launch + spacecraft engine entity.

The second, and more notable, reason is that establishing the subsidiary unlocks all sorts of financial options. This is interesting because many people have been wondering how Astra would continue to finance its launch business, given that it anticipates ending the second quarter with right around $30-33 million in the bank, with a quarterly cash burn of around that same amount.

I won’t speculate too much here, but it certainly opens up greater flexibility in all sorts of different dimensions.

Chris Kemp, founder and chief executive officer of Astra

Astra CEO Chris Kemp. Image Credits: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

More news from TC and beyond

  • Benchmark Space Systems, a Vermont-based developer of in-space propulsion products, has raised $33.2 million in new funding as it looks to ramp up production.
  • Blue Origin is eyeing international expansion, with the company in the early stages of exploring a launch site outside of the United States.
  • India will launch its latest moon lander mission Chandrayaan-3, a follow-on almost four years after the crash of its previous iteration in 2019, on July 14, the country’s space agency has announced.
  • Pulsar Fusion wants to make interstellar travel a reality with nuclear fusion-powered propulsion systems.

The universe, in all its glory, brought to you by Hubble. Image Credits: NASA (opens in a new window)

Max Q is brought to you by me, Aria Alamalhodaei. If you enjoy reading Max Q, consider forwarding it to a friend. 

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