Curiosity, concern over mysterious rocket being built in California

ALAMEDA, California -- What is a rocket doing in the Bay Area? A mysterious missile has been spotted in California.

It concerns a company at the old Alameda Naval Air Station that makes a small rocket to carry tiny commercial satellites into orbit. But the company doesn't talk to the media, so some people who work nearby are just learning about it.

That includes Tyler Mitchell, at the St. George Spirit Company located a few blocks away.

"I think there's a lot of empty space here," he said. "Why not put it to good use? I would just be concerned to know what it's actually for."

Others who live nearby.

Jeremy Rice sent video when he saw the rocket while on a stroll near his home. He said he's curious about the rocket and that he worries about safety.

"I don't know if it's fueled up, is my main concern," he said. "I'm really close to it. You can go on YouTube and see a bunch of rockets blowing up, and they don't make small explosions."

The rocket belongs to a startup called Astra, and officials declined to comment. But their application to operate in Alameda says the company is building the next generation of rocket to launch satellites weighing 100 kilograms into orbit, compared to a much larger SpaceX rocket designed to lift 56,000 kilograms into space.

The Alameda Fire Department couldn't say if they store flammable rocket fuels on site, but fire Captain Jim Colburn said Astra is complying with safety codes.

"This company has been a willing partner of the city and the fire department to operate in a very safe fashion," he said. "We're very pleased in how seriously they've taken their business, and we honestly have no issues at this point with how they are conducting their business."

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