CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – The private space company Astra is planning its first commercial launch from Florida’s Space Coast, helping NASA put a satellite into orbit, according to a news release.
The launch, set for sometime in January 2022, will see Astra’s Rocket 3.3 take off from Cape Canaveral’s Space Launch Complex 46, the company said.
The company did not say what type of satellite it would be carrying into orbit.
Astra recently launched its first commercial payload into orbit for the U.S. Space Force on Nov. 18, according to the company’s website. That launch took place from a spaceport complex in Alaska.
Astra’s Rocket 3.3 is an expendable, two-stage rocket that is designed to fit inside a standard shipping container, according to the company. The rocket’s first stage is only 43 feet tall when verticle and 52 inches, a little more than four feet, in diameter.
For comparison, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket is nearly 230 feet tall when verticle and about 12 feet in diameter. The Falcon 9 is also reusable whereas the Rocket 3.3 is not.
Astra said the smaller size makes use of the Rocket 3.3 more affordable.
Though the launch is planned for January, no specific date and time have been announced.