Firefly Aerospace’s new rocket, named Alpha, went on the first journey, but it ended abruptly, minutes after its launch.
Moments after the lift-off from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California, Alpha experienced an irregularity.
The company Firefly confirmed that the rocked ended its journey after two and a half minutes, tweeting:
“Alpha experienced an anomaly during the first stage ascent that resulted in the loss of the vehicle. As we gather more information, additional details will be provided.”
No crew was on the Alpha, and Firefly assured they cleared out the surrounding area before the rocket’s launch. The company ensured the public by tweeting:
“Prior to entering the countdown, the Range cleared the pad and all surrounding areas to minimize risk to Firefly employees, base staff, and the general public. We are continuing to work with the Range, following all safety protocols.”
Here is the official statement in full:
According to Sky News, the company suspended the first launch with seconds to go due to unspecified technical reasons.
Before exploding, it appears that the rocket took twice as long to break the speed of sound as had been expected.
Alpha took off at approximately 7 am PST before crashing and burning moments later.
Firefly’s Project DREAM (Dedicated Research & Education Accelerator Mission) created Alpha, a 95ft (29 meters) tall rocket with 11 technical payloads on its launch. The test flight was expected to reach orbit.
DREAM’s payloads included, among other things, memorabilia submitted by educational institutions, as the mission’s goal was “to capture humanity’s dreams of the future of space and to inspire people around the globe to dream big and reach for the stars.”
Firefly, the private aerospace company, has obtained contracts worth $93.3 million from NASA to develop equipment for NASA’s Project Artemis.
The goal is to return humankind to the moon within the next five years.