Explosion after launch
A private US company Firefly Aerospace's Alpha rocket exploded a few minutes after a successful launch as part of the first test flight in the US. The flight was broadcast on the company's website on Thursday.
The rocket launched from the site at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The rocket stayed in the air for two minutes before exploding in mid-air. It is worth noting that the missile was travelling at supersonic speeds at the time.
According to a statement from Firefly Aerospace on Twitter, the Alpha rocket was subjected to an anomaly during the first stage, which is what caused the vehicle to explode. According to the company, all precautions had been taken ahead of the launch to keep personnel safe in case of emergencies.
Alpha was planned to deliver a payload weighing about 93 kg to low Earth orbit. In the future, Firefly Aerospace plans to commercially launch payloads of up to a ton and 630 kg, respectively, into orbits of 300 km and 500 km altitude using its rockets.
Firefly Space Systems was founded in 2014 by its current CEO Thomas Markusic. After bankruptcy in 2017, the company was acquired by the firm of Ukrainian entrepreneur Maxym Polyakov, after which it was renamed Firefly Aerospace. The company is headquartered in Austin, Texas.