Space startup Astra signs first commercial launch contract, boosts rocket capacity

Billionaire-backed space transport startup Astra, which aims to go public before July in a $2.1 billion blank-check deal, has signed its first commercial launch contract with private imaging firm Planet, its chief executive told Reuters. The Alameda, California-based company also said it would be able to lift satellites weighing up to 500 kilograms (1,100 pounds) to low-Earth orbit before 2025, a tenfold leap in capacity from its current designs, aimed at winning business from forthcoming broadband mega-constellations like Inc’s Project Kuiper.

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