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Rocket launch company Astra poaches elite Apple Car team member for chief engineer role

Today California-based small satellite launcher Astra announced that Benjamin Lyon is joining their team as their new Chief Engineer. Lyon leaves his position as Apple’s Senior Director of the Special Projects Group, the team that brought the company many of its greatest innovations. According to Bloomberg, Lyon most recently worked on Apple’s car team.

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NASA smallsat launch contract selection statement pulls no punches on provider readiness

NASA tapped Astra, Firefly, and Relativity Space for its Venture Class Launch Services Demo 2 program, giving each company a contract to launch a group of smallsats into orbit to demonstrate the capabilities of their new vehicles. NASA didn’t share their reasoning for the selections or who else submitted proposals in that announcement. This information is found in a source selection statement published later in the month that addresses each company’s strengths and weaknesses.

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Watch Astra’s first DARPA Launch Challenge attempt from Alaska [Update: Scrubbed]

A $2 million prize is at stake today for the DARPA Launch Challenge attempt from Pacific Spaceport Complex Alaska on Kodiak Island.

DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, designed the challenge to help discover companies demonstrating “new and groundbreaking capabilities to address emerging Department of Defense needs.” California-based Astra is tasked with today’s launch which, if successfull, will be the first of three cash prize-winning launches.

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