As it files an application for a satellite constellation, Astra says its focus is on launch

Astra Space officials indicated that their near-term priority remains on refining their launch capabilities, a week after filing an application with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for a constellation of over 13,000 satellites. Astra’s third-quarter financial results were revealed on November 11th, revealing an estimated net loss of about $34.5 million for the quarter as well as $72.4 million for the year. However, during the company’s earnings call, much of the focus was on a filing it made with the FCC on November 4 to create a constellation of about 13,620 V-band satellites.

The filing was prompted by the FCC’s near-term potential to seek a V-band spectrum, with a November 4 closing date for filing applications, according to Chris Kemp, Astra’s CEO. Although Astra’s application contains the greatest single number of satellites, it was one of several businesses that submitted applications for thousands of possible satellites.

“Spectrum is really difficult to come by. He described it as “very beneficial.” “Spectrum access demand will greatly surpass supply in the not-too-distant future.” This perspective on the spectrum is what prompted us to submit a V-band spectrum application in order to prepare Astra for the next phase of its development.”

Kemp also highlighted the proposal’s three-phase method, which would begin with an equatorial plane of about 40 satellites. “In phase one, that gives a service that we feel has substantial value for clients,” he said. “We can set up a simple service that will allow us to experiment and learn.”

A second phase would launch 2,296 spacecraft into orbit to give global coverage, followed by a third phase that would launch an additional 11,284 spacecraft to increase capacity. He stated that future phases would be determined by user demand. “Honestly, when we begin to see momentum with those space services, we can launch that constellation,” he said. “There is no obligation that we launch those 13,000 satellites, but we must consider the overall release of the entire constellation in the licensing.”

Kemp did not provide a timeline for the constellation’s development. The FCC could take several years to analyze and approve the latest round of V-band applications. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) authorized Boeing’s application for a 147-satellite V-band constellation on November 3, approximately 5 years after the company filed it. The corporation would have 6 years to deploy half of the constellation and 9 years to install the complete fleet if the proposal is accepted.

He reiterated that the company’s immediate focus will be on modest launch vehicles. The latest Rocket 3.3 vehicle, serial number LV0007, is presently on Kodiak Island, Alaska, awaiting a launch for the United States Space Force. The launch was supposed to happen earlier this month, however, Kemp indicated it will happen “in the next week or two.” Airspace limitations have been put in place by the Federal Aviation Administration for the launch on November 14 and 15, as well as November 19 and 20.

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