New rocket company fails to achieve launch on 2nd attempt

    Firefly Aerospace's Alpha rocket was unable to lift off from Vandenberg Space Force Base, California.

    By: AP
    | Updated on: Oct 01 2022, 01:40 IST
    NASA shares asteroid strike images
    Asteroid
    1/6 NASA’s unique experiment to smash a spacecraft into a small asteroid in the world’s first-ever in-space test for planetary defense has been captured by two of NASA’s Great Observatories, the James Webb Space Telescope and the Hubble Space Telescope. (NASA)
    asteroid
    2/6 These telescopes observed the same celestial object at the same time during this historical event. The DART mission was tested on the asteroid Dimorphous. (Pixabay)
    NASA
    3/6 The coordinated Hubble and Webb observations showed a vast cloud of dust expanding from Dimorphos and Didymos as soon as the spacecraft crashed into it. (AFP)
    NASA
    4/6 NASA’s James Webb’s Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam) captured glimpses four hours after the DART spacecraft hit the target asteroid. It shows plumes of material appearing as wisps streaming away from the centre of where the impact took place. (PTI)
    image caption
    5/6 The captured glimpses by the world's premier space science observatory James Webb allow it to peer deeper into the universe than ever before. These images are in red because the Telescope operates primarily in the infrared spectrum. (Reuters)
    image caption
    6/6 While the Hubble Telescope captured the moment from 22 minutes, five hours, and eight hours after impact. It shed light on the expanding spray of matter from where DART hit on the asteroid's left. (NASA)
    Firefly
    View all Images
    The rocket was then intentionally destroyed by an explosive flight termination system. (Representative Image) (Firefly Aerospace / Twitter )

    A year after its first rocket launch failed, a new aerospace company was unsuccessful early Friday in its second attempt to place multiple satellites into orbit.

    Firefly Aerospace's Alpha rocket was unable to lift off from Vandenberg Space Force Base, California, and follow a planned arc over the Pacific Ocean toward space.

    A live video feed showed the launch countdown go to zero and then abort at 12:52 a.m. Friday.

    “The vehicle went into auto abort after ignition. This is designed into the system to ensure safety,” the company said in a Twitter post. "The team scrubbed tonight's launch attempt and is reviewing data to determine our next launch window."

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

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

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

    One of the four first-stage engines shut down prematurely but the rocket continued upward on three engines into the supersonic realm where it tumbled out of control.

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

    Firefly Aerospace said the premature shutdown was traced to an electrical issue, but that the rocket had otherwise performed well and useful data was obtained during the nearly 2 1/2 minutes of flight.

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

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

    Firefly Aerospace, based in Cedar Park, Texas, is also planning a larger rocket, a vehicle for in-space operations and a lander for carrying NASA and commercial payloads to the surface of the moon.

    Follow HT Tech for the latest tech news and reviews , also keep up with us on Twitter, Facebook, Google News, and Instagram. For our latest videos, subscribe to our YouTube channel.

    First Published Date: 01 Oct, 01:40 IST
    Tags:
    NEXT ARTICLE BEGINS
    keep up with tech