What happened

Shares of start-up defense contractor and space launch provider Astra Space (ASTR 0.19%) lifted off Monday morning, rising 13.8% through 11:51 a.m. EDT. There were two reasons for this... and you can find them both on Twitter.

White rocket zooming up like a stock on a chart

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

Reason No. 1: On Thursday, CEO Chris Kemp announced that Astra had received its license from the FAA authorizing it to launch small payloads to orbit through 2026.

Then, over the weekend, he followed that up with a confirmation that the company's "red team" has deployed a rocket in preparation for an upcoming launch out of Kodiak, Alaska.

Now what

Now, Astra hasn't yet put a payload in orbit -- not quite, at least. But it is getting ready to try again. On Friday, it's scheduled to launch its "STP-27AD1" mission out of the Pacific Spaceport Complex in Kodiak. This will be a test payload for the U.S. Space Force, the first of two launches for it that Astra will attempt this year. Depending on how successful it is, the event will probably be a major catalyst -- in one direction or the other -- for the space "SPAC" stock.  

The launch window opens at 4 p.m. EDT on Friday. Be there or be square.