Wednesday, November 30, 2022
Home SCIENCE Firefly Aerospace reaches orbit with new Alpha rocket

Firefly Aerospace reaches orbit with new Alpha rocket

VANDENBERG SPACE FORCE BASE, Calif. (AP) — A new aerospace company took to orbit with its second rocket launch and deployed multiple small satellites on Saturday.

Firefly Aerospace’s Alpha rocket lifted off from Vandenberg Space Force Base, California, in the dark of morning and arced over the Pacific.

“100% mission success,” Firefly tweeted later.

A day earlier, a launch attempt ended abruptly when the countdown reached zero. The first stage engines fired but the rocket automatically aborted liftoff.

The rocket’s payload included multiple small satellites designed for a variety of experiments and technology demonstrations, as well as educational purposes.

The mission, dubbed “To The Black,” was the company’s second demonstration flight of its entry into the small satellite launcher market.

The first Alpha launched from Vandenberg on September 2, 2021, but did not reach orbit.

One of the first stage’s four engines shut down prematurely, but the rocket continued upward with three engines into the supersonic realm, where it spun out of control.

The rocket was then intentionally destroyed by an explosive flight termination system.

Firefly Aerospace said the premature shutdown was due to an electrical problem, but that the rocket had otherwise performed well and useful data was obtained during the nearly 2 1/2-minute flight.

Alpha is designed to carry payloads weighing up to 2,579 pounds (1,170 kilograms) into low-Earth orbit.

Other competitors in the burgeoning small-launch market include Rocket Lab and Virgin Orbit, both based in Long Beach, California.

Cedar Park, Texas-based Firefly Aerospace is also planning a larger rocket, a space operations vehicle and a lander to carry commercial and NASA payloads to the moon’s surface.

RELATED ARTICLES

Alzheimer’s drug slows mental decline on trial, but is it a breakthrough?

Some researchers are celebrating this week's announcement that an Alzheimer's drug candidate reduced the rate of cognitive decline in people in a clinical trial...

An earthquake may have discovered 30 new dinosaur footprints in Alaska

A powerful 8.2-magnitude earthquake struck southern Alaska in July 2021. Scientists believe the quake may have yielded more than 30 new dinosaur tracks from...

Spatial thinkers get their due | Sciences

An Insider's Guide to Visual Reasoning celebrates those who think in images and patterns.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisment -

Most Popular

Alzheimer’s drug slows mental decline on trial, but is it a breakthrough?

Some researchers are celebrating this week's announcement that an Alzheimer's drug candidate reduced the rate of cognitive decline in people in a clinical trial...

Firefly Aerospace reaches orbit with new Alpha rocket

VANDENBERG SPACE FORCE BASE, Calif. (AP) — A new aerospace company took to orbit with its second rocket launch and deployed multiple small...

An earthquake may have discovered 30 new dinosaur footprints in Alaska

A powerful 8.2-magnitude earthquake struck southern Alaska in July 2021. Scientists believe the quake may have yielded more than 30 new dinosaur tracks from...

Spatial thinkers get their due | Sciences

An Insider's Guide to Visual Reasoning celebrates those who think in images and patterns.