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Smallsat rocket company Astra to go public

Capitalism in space: A merger with a major investment capital company, bringing in $500 million, will result in the smallsat rocket company Astra going public.

Small launch vehicle developer Astra will go public by merging with a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC), providing the company with nearly $500 million in cash and valuing it at more than $2 billion.

Astra announced Feb. 2 an agreement to merge with Holicity, a SPAC established last year by Craig McCaw. That merger, expected to close in the second quarter, will turn Astra into a publicly traded company on the Nasdaq exchange with the ticker symbol ASTR. McCaw, chairman and chief executive of Holicity, will join Astra’s board as part of the deal.

Astra expects to raise $489 million through the merger with Holicity, a total that includes a $200 million private investment in public equity (PIPE) led by BlackRock and $30 million from a concurrent Series C round, company executives said in an investor call. The deal will value Astra at $2.1 billion.

In the article Astra’s head claimed the company already has contracts for its first fifty flights, but did not provide any details. At this moment Astra has yet to complete a successful orbital launch, and has two attempted orbital tests which both failed.

Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

The ebook is available everywhere for $5.99 (before discount) at amazon, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit. If you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and the author gets a bigger cut much sooner.

The audiobook is also available at all these vendors, and is also free with a 30-day trial membership to Audible.

"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs."--San Antonio Express-News


  • wayne

    they lost me at Blackrock. I’m going to call a bubble.

    “Chamath Palihapitiya’s SPAC ‘Social Capital Hedosophia Holdings’ bought a 49% stake in Virgin Galactic for $800 million before listing the company in 2019.

    The Big Short (2015)
    Scion Capital cashes out

    “Looks like the collapse of the financial sector is imminent. Let’s start to sell my position. It’s $1.3 billion. Sure, I’ll hold.”
    Dr. Michael Burry

  • wayne

    Holicity files for IPO
    July 2020
    -25 million units at $10 each; consisting of 1 Share + 1/3 of a Warrant, exercisable at $11.50

  • wayne

    ….then, it gets interesting…..

    SPACs: Shares vs Warrants vs Units
    -how trading strategies work-
    Patrick Desjardins 2020

    – Units, Shares, and Warrants, all carry different risk profiles…..

  • Edward

    From the article: “In an investor presentation filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the company projects launching 300 times in 2025, a total nearly three times the number of orbital launches performed worldwide in 2020.

    Although 300 smallsat launches seems like a lot, SpaceX recently launched around 150 smallsats on one launch. There is no lack of smallsats that need launching.

    Some say that SpaceX is drawing customers away from the small launch companies with its dedicated rideshare Transporter missions, but since there are not yet enough small launchers for the current market, this is not the case. Indeed, it could be the other way around, that the smallsat launchers will be better able to target individual companies’s needs than SpaceX can.

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