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Astra launches Planet Labs and expands payload capacity

Source: Astra’s website

Paris, 20 May 2021. – The satellite imagery and geospatial solutions provider Planet Labs will launch on Astra and closed a multi-launch contract “with plans to begin launching in the near future”, the launcher said.

Astra also disclosed plans to launch payloads up to 500kg to a 500 km into mid-inclination (50 degree) orbit. “This capability expands the services Astra can deliver for mega constellations, small satellite companies, and government agencies”, the company said.

Astra was founded in 2016 with the mission of “launching a new generation of space services to improve life on Earth”.

“My relationship with Planet goes back to Astra’s founding, when I joined the Planet team as an advisor in 2013,” Astra’s founder, Chairman and CEO Chris Kemp said. “Two rockets carrying Planet missions exploded, destroying a total of 34 satellites. After experiencing the frustration and inefficiency first-hand, I recognized that many companies needed better infrastructure services. This was part of the inspiration that led Adam London and me to found Astra and provide a more reliable, affordable, and efficient way to get to space.”

Astra and the publicly traded special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) Holicity recently announced their plans to merge; the transaction is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2021.

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