Kodiak Island saw its first rocket in nearly four months blast off into space on Tues., March 15. California aerospace company Astra successfully sent a rocket into space from the Kodiak Pacific Spaceport Complex on Narrow Cape just after sunrise. The fiery projectile was visible from the city of Kodiak – some 25 miles away – streaking into the pale pink sky. Its contrail faintly tailed off on its ascent.
On the ground, cheers from the Astra flight team erupted on the launch’s live stream that was broadcast from the company and NASASpaceFlight as the rocket blasted through the upper layers of the atmosphere.
The return to orbit comes at a critical time for the Alameda, California-based aerospace company. Its previous launch attempt failed last month in Florida. And shareholders of the publicly-traded company filed suit.
Astra’s first successful launch was also from Kodiak back in November, when it sent a dummy payload on an experimental mission. Tuesday’s launch was Astra’s second successful mission – and the first time an Astra rocket successfully carried payloads from customers into orbit – including research satellites.
Kodiak’s spaceport complex is run by Alaska Aerospace – which relies on federal funding and contracts from companies like Astra. Alaska Aerospace’s chief executive told KMXT last month that with the number of commercial space start-ups getting into the game, right now is an exciting time for the aerospace industry in Alaska – and Kodiak Island.
Astra didn’t return emails seeking comment after Tuesday’s launch, but the company said in a statement that it was “incredibly proud” of its mission success.