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Bank of America slashes Astra price target to 70 cents citing later than expected launch date

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Astra Space’s delayed relaunch into space may put it behind its competitors, according to Bank of America. Bank of America Securities on Tuesday slashed the price target on the space vehicle launch company to 70 cents from $2.70 and reiterated its underperform rating. The new price target implies a downside of more than 41% from Monday’s close. Astra stock has shed more than 82% year to date through Monday. The new price target comes after Astra had to shift its focus away from its initial launch system following continued issues and move onto its launch system 2.0, which has a higher payload to compete with other companies. The company doesn’t plan to launch another vehicle until late 2023 at the earliest. Back in June, Astra launched its Rocket 3.3 — its initial launch system — ferrying a pair of satellites for NASA’s TROPICS-1 mission. The mission failed mid-launch, and the satellites didn’t make it to orbit. “We look favorably upon management’s decision to refocus its launch services efforts but believe the delayed re-entry into service may set the company back relative to competitors that have already established consistent launch platforms,” analyst Ronald Epstein wrote in a Tuesday note. The firm also lowered its earnings estimates for the company, reflecting lower revenues and costs in 2023 and 2024. Even amid the delayed launch, the company’s Apollo Fusion acquisition should provide a real growing revenue stream, Bank of America said. “The Apollo Fusion acquisition afforded ASTR exposure to the growing in-orbit servicing (IOS) space, which we see as poised to grow given the increasing need for in-space propulsion in orbits around Earth,” Epstein wrote. “We note that the Apollo Fusion business will be virtually the sole revenue source for the company through at least late 2023, given the lack of development in other areas of the business, including spaceport services and modular spacecraft platforms (MSPs.)” — CNBC’s Michael Bloom and Michael Sheetz contributed to this story.

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