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Firefly space rocket exploded in first test fire

Firefly's Alpha rocket launched on September 2, 2021.

Firefly’s Alpha rocket launched on September 2, 2021.
Screenshot: Firefly Aviation/Daily Astronaut

Firefly Aerospace made its first attempt to launch a two-stage Alpha rocket, but it ended in a spectacular fireball. No Someone once said that starting a rocket company would be easy.

The 95-foot-tall rocket left the Vandenberg Space Force Base’s 2 launch site at 9:59 PM Eastern Time on September 2. This is the second launch attempt of the day, because the countdown was delayed for unknown reasons.During the ascent phase-about two and a half minutes after liftoff-the Alpha rocket “experienced an abnormality” that “caused the loss of the aircraft”, such as the Firefly Aerospace Corporation Tweet Later in the day. There are no reports of injuries.

Photos taken Space news with NASA space flight Demonstrating the consequences of a failed test, fragments gushing out of the tumbling fireball. This is not the result anyone wants, but Firefly founders Max Polyakov and Tom Markusic knew what they were going to face when they founded the company in 2014.

The picture shows the explosion site.

The picture shows the explosion site.
picture: Firefly Aviation/Daily Astronaut

The Austin-based company is seeking to provide small and medium-sized rockets, and Alpha “is designed to meet the needs of the emerging small satellite market.” according to To the company.Single use The rocket is expected to transport 2,200 pounds (1,000 kilograms) of cargo into low-Earth orbit And 1,400 pounds (630 kg) to a “very ideal” sun-synchronous orbit (the orbit that allows satellites to cross the equator at the same time every day). Firefly hopes to launch two Alpha rockets every month, at a cost of $15 million per mission.

But they haven’t arrived yet. It seems that the Alpha rocket did not perform as expected when it was first launched, as SpaceNews report:

According to the mission overview released by Firefly before launch, the aircraft should reach a speed of Mach 1 after 67 seconds of lift-off, and then reach its maximum dynamic pressure after 9 seconds. However, the launch controller did not report that the vehicle was supersonic until 2 minutes and 20 seconds after takeoff, which is about 10 seconds before the vehicle exploded.

SpaceNews reporter Jeff Foust said the rocket “seems to roll first and then explode.”A sort of statement Vandenberg SFB made it clear Space launch Delta 30 The mission was “terminated”, and it may have done so when it detected poor performance of the rocket.in the following statement, Vandenberg SFB officials warned that “there is debris in the area”, saying that any debris dropped by the explosive rocket “should be considered unsafe.”

Although the mission was a test, Alpha did carry the payload. The cargo includes a combination of technical and non-technical cargo, including cube satellites, towed off-orbit sails, plasma thrusters, DNA samples, photographs and some personal items. Alpha carries these items for free as Dedicated research and education accelerator mission (Dream).

in a statement, Firefly stated that it is “too early to draw conclusions on the root cause.” Its engineers, with the help of FAA and Vandenberg SFB’s partners, are currently reviewing “thousands of ground and flight system telemetry data lines to better understand what’s going on.” Obviously not all mission objectives have been achieved, but it should The company did achieve some goals, including “the first stage of ignition, launching the mat into the air, and entering supersonic speed.” with”A lot of flight data. “

Indeed we For this launch, Firefly should not be too optimistic-after all, this is rocket science.Ask Astro, the aerospace company’s rockets are surprising Shaking sideways During the failed launch last week.

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