Blogging Bayport Alameda

October 11, 2021

To infinity and beyond

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:01 am

Only one major item on the Planning Board’s agenda tonight which should mean a reasonable ending time for this body and that is a conditional use permit for the expansion of Astra Space which is pretty exciting. From the staff report:

On December 8, 2016, the City signed a short term lease with Astra to establish their headquarters and research, develop and build prototypes of their small-scale rocket system and test engines inside Building 397.  At the time, Astra Space, Inc. had only been incorporated for less than a year.

On June 13, 2017, the Zoning Administrator approved a use permit for outdoor tanks and outdoor material storage at Building 397 (PLN17-0276).

In 2018, Astra started testing rocket engines inside Building 397.  On Dec. 31, 2018, the City of Alameda signed a lease with Astra to expand their operations into the southernmost portion of Building 360 (1900 Skyhawk Street).

By July 2019, Astra completed a partial Tenant Improvement of Building 360, with approximately 71,000 square feet of headquarters and manufacturing workspace in Alameda.  All headquarters and office functions were moved from Building 397 into Building 360 at that time.  Building 397 is now used for engine testing operations only.

In July 2021, Astra Space started trading on the NASDAQ as the first public launch company. As of September 2021 Astra employed 255 people at the Alameda site.  Twenty three percent (23%) of the employees live in Alameda, 18% in San Francisco, and 14% in Oakland.  Forty three percent of the employees are people of color and 20% are women. Astra’s workforce includes not just engineering and technology roles, but also skilled labor roles including machining, welding, and other vital manufacturing roles.

On July 22, 2021 Astra submitted an application for a Conditional Use Permit to expand their operations to include and rehabilitate Building 372 for additional indoor engine testing capability, and expand their current headquarters and production space into the remainder of Building 360 (approximately 110,000 square feet).

In 2022, Astra expects to start launching rockets (in Alaska) with 19 kg payloads for NASA while developing a rocket that will carry 100 kg payloads.  By 2025, Astra hopes to be able to deliver 300 kg payloads as well as a ‘Space Bus’ to deliver multiple satellites into space.

They’ve been slowly rehabilitating a bunch of the big buildings east of the Seaplane Lagoon nearish to the Pottery Barn outlet building for context:

Here’s a bit about the company when it went public:

More about the company itself:

There are only two letters from the public in advance of this meeting but, inevitably, someone is going to complain about noise. The report indicates that Astra doesn’t launch from Alameda but, rather, from Alaska. And there’s noise and vibration report attached to the staff report for folks concerned with noise and vibration.

The staff reports says that Astra thinks that it can grow to 350 employees in the next year if this expansion is approved but it would be able to grow to 500 if they’re allowed more space. I mean, why not, there is currently still quite a bit out there and, certainly, these are the types of businesses we should be encouraging.

5 Comments »

  1. This is pretty exciting news for Alameda Point. I hope their use permit gets approved. This is the second company at Alameda Point to get mentioned in the SF Business Times. The Times is carrying Astra’s expansion story at Alameda Point — and Wright Speed was mentioned last week as well.

    Comment by Karen Bey — October 11, 2021 @ 7:41 am

  2. The New York Times carried a story about Saildrone last week — Alameda Point is getting a lot of media attention lately.

    ‘Saildrone’ Footage Offers Rare Peek Inside a Category 4 Hurricane
    The 23-foot crewless vessel pierced the eyewall of Hurricane Sam and captured stunning images as the storm barreled through the Atlantic Ocean.

    The hurricane program is the product of a partnership between NOAA and Saildrones Inc., a company based in Alameda, Calif.,

    Comment by Karen Bey — October 11, 2021 @ 8:04 am

  3. I drove by the building several months ago and wondered what they were doing there. They are in the midst of remodeling the huge building. It is exciting to see what is happening on the base, especially if it is bringing new jobs to Alameda. It is nice to see some on the building being rehabbed the new housing, ferry terminal, and the new park along Seaplane Lagoon being built It has been a long time coming. I look forward to see what sort of retail they will put in there.

    Comment by Joel — October 11, 2021 @ 8:32 am

  4. Haha-how long have you guys lived here? The Navy would test jet engines at all times. Testing rocket engines with rocket fuel is no joke and the sounds are incompatible with enjoying your home and backyard, unless you get used to living next to BART, an airport, or a freeway.

    It’s exciting as long as “you” don’t live near there.

    Comment by I hear you knockin’ — October 11, 2021 @ 10:41 am

    • I live close by, and I’m at Alameda Point all the time – and eat my lunch or breakfast there at least 2-3 times a week. I don’t hear what you’re complaining about.

      Comment by Karen Bey — October 11, 2021 @ 11:35 am


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