Firefly Aerospace’s first launch of their Alpha rocket – Anomaly occurs – Captured flight data is encouraging – SatNews
“Firefly performed the first test flight of our Alpha vehicle. The day marked a major breakthrough for the Firefly team as we demonstrated that we have “arrived” as a company capable of building and launching rockets,” noted Tom markusic, CEO of Firefly Aerospace. “While the vehicle did not reach orbit, we have acquired a wealth of flight data that will dramatically 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 successfully completed a 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 review of flight data indicates an electrical problem caused one of the first four floors to shut down Wrecker engines. Firefly is fully investigating the anomaly and will report the root cause of the anomaly upon completion of this investigation.
As reported on September 2 by Delta 30 space launch, the Alpha rocket ended “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 25 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 the Briggs of the company, Texas, manufacturing and testing facility.
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.. 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.”
Dr. Max Polyakov, the Firefly co-founder said: “The first launch of Alpha 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 accomplishments for such a short period of time.e. ”
Firefly also thanked its 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.