Firefly Aerospace, founded by Ukrainian entrepreneur Max Polyakov, launched its Alpha rocket for the first time, but the vehicle experienced certain anomalies and exploded.
The company has worked on the Alpha rocket since 2014. Alpha is a two-stage rocket capable of delivering a payload weighing up to 1,000 kilograms into low-earth orbit. According to the company, it is designed specifically for commercial launches of small satellites.
The rocket launch was planned for September 3 at 4:00 Kyiv time, but the countdown suddenly stopped. Engineers revised the data on the first launch attempt, and then tried to relaunch the rocket at 4:59 AM from the Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.
The rocket launched, but soon the company reported a certain anomaly during the ascent. The Firefly Aerospace broadcast showed the rocket exploding in the sky.
Firefly Aerospace noted that the Alpha rocket explosion was controlled, and its flight was terminated by the Space Launch Delta 30 team at the Vandenberg Space Force Base after noticing an anomaly and because of the failure of one of the engines. The company continues to investigate the circumstances and collect data about the incident.
Firefly employees were not at risk since the site and surrounding areas were cleared before the countdown.