Firefly Aerospace performs first test launch of Alpha launcher
CEDAR PARK, Texas – (COMMERCIAL THREAD)–September 2ndsd, Firefly Aerospace Inc., an emerging provider of cost-effective and reliable launchers, spacecraft and space services, performed the inaugural flight of its Alpha launcher from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.
“Firefly completed the first test flight of our Alpha vehicle. Today marked a major breakthrough for the Firefly team as we demonstrated that we ‘arrived’ as a company capable of building and launching rockets, ”said Tom Markusic, CEO of Firefly Aerospace. “Although the vehicle did not reach orbit, we have acquired a wealth of flight data that will significantly increase the likelihood of Alpha reaching orbit on its second flight. In short, we had a very successful first flight.
The test began with a nominal countdown and take-off at 18:59 PDT and achieved a successful first ignition, take-off of the pad and progress to supersonic speed. During the flight, the launcher experienced an anomaly that resulted in the flight being safely stopped by the range using the Flight Termination System (FTS). Initial examination of the flight data indicates that an electrical problem caused one of the four Reaver engines on the first stage to shut down. Firefly is fully investigating the anomaly and will report the root cause of the anomaly upon completion of this investigation.
As reported on September 2sd by Space Launch Delta 30, the Alpha rocket was interrupted “over the Pacific Ocean at 7:01 pm Pacific time, after a successful takeoff at 6:59 pm…. There were no injuries associated with the anomaly.
During the two minutes and twenty-five seconds of flight, Firefly obtained a substantial amount of flight data which will be used to improve the design of future Alpha launchers, including the second flight vehicle, which is currently integrated for flight. at their Briggs, Manufacturing and Testing Plant in Texas.
Markusic also said, “Firefly has been incredibly fortunate to have partners who share our vision and our passion. The most difficult and perilous days of Firefly Aerospace were funded by Noosphere Ventures, founded by Max Polyakov. From the start, Max and I created the roadmap for technology and business development – with Alpha’s first launch being a hard-fought historic achievement for the entire team. He continued, “The Alpha Launcher was developed by a world-class group of talented and dedicated technical directors. Firefly’s flight and test operations department, led by Anne Chinnery, Brad Obrocto and Sean Reilly, built the Firefly launch facility and successfully conducted the first launch.
Firefly Co-Founder Dr Max Polyakov said: “The first Alpha launch was a historic day for Firefly. I salute and thank the team who worked so hard to make Firefly’s vision a reality. In just four years, Firefly has developed and flown an orbital-class launcher and built our Blue Ghost lunar lander to go to the moon in 2023 – incredible achievements for such a short time!
Firefly also thanks their partners at DADA Holdings, Astera Institute, Canon Ball LLC, Reuben Brothers Limited, SMS Capital Investment LLC, Raven One Ventures, XBTO Ventures, Republic Capital and other investors for their support.
Firefly recognizes the exceptional support provided by the United States Space Force through the Delta 30 Space Launch at Vandenberg Space Force Base and by the FAA. Alpha Flight 1 was a prime example of a public-private partnership.
Firefly Alpha FLTA001 launch video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qFjoPw0CfAU
ABOUT FIREFLY AEROSPACE
Firefly is developing a family of launch and space vehicles and services that deliver industry-leading accessibility, convenience and reliability. Firefly launchers utilize common technologies, manufacturing infrastructure and launch capabilities, providing LEO launch solutions for up to ten metric tons of payload at the lowest cost per kg in the small launch vehicle class. Combined with Firefly’s space vehicles, such as the Space Utility Vehicle and the Blue Ghost Lunar Lander, Firefly provides the space industry with a single source for LEO missions to the surface of the Moon or beyond. Firefly is headquartered in Cedar Park, Texas.
For more information, please see: www.firefly.com