Firefly missile explodes shortly after initial launch | News from science and technology
The first voyage of Firefly Aerospace’s new rocket, called Alpha, ended in an explosion shortly after launch.
“Alpha detected an anomaly during the first ascent that resulted in the loss of the vehicle. More details will be released as we gather more information,” the company tweeted.
The video of the launch shows the rocket exploding two and a half minutes after launch in California.
An earlier countdown to the start of Alpha was canceled in seconds for unspecified technical reasons, but the start controllers let things continue the second time.
Before the explosion, the rocket seemed to take twice as long to break through the speed of sound as expected.
Alpha was supposed to hit the speed of sound 67 seconds after take off, but it took 140 seconds to hit Mach 1 instead, and 10 seconds later the vehicle exploded.
Addressing debris concerns, Firefly tweeted, “Prior to entering the countdown, the range cleared the pad and all surrounding areas to minimize risk to Firefly employees, base staff and the public. We continue to work with Range Security Protocols. “
The 29 m high rocket is designed for a payload of 1,000 kg and should reach orbit when launched from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.
The mission, called DREAM (Dedicated Research & Education Accelerator Mission), was a test flight with 11 technical payloads, including cubesats and a demonstration spacecraft powered by an electric engine.