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Firefly Aerospace to investigate Alpha rocket launch failure

KYIV. Sept 3 (Interfax-Ukraine) – Firefly Aerospace Inc., a U.S. developer of orbital launch vehicles owned by Ukrainian businessman Max Polyakov, managed to successfully lift its first Alpha rocket from a launch pad, but the mission was interrupted due to an anomaly observed during the flight, the company’s press service said on Twitter.

"It’s too early to draw conclusions as to the root cause. We will be diligent in our investigation, in partnership with the FAA and Vandenberg Space Force Base. We will utilize the data we obtained from the test fly and apply it to future missions. Our enginreers are currently combing through thousands of lines of ground and flight system telemetry in order to better understand what occurred," Firefly Aerospace said.

The company, despite the failure to launch the rocket, noted the objectives they were able to achieve.

"While we didn’t meet all of our mission objectives, we did achieve a number of them: successful first stage ignition, liftoff of the pad, and progression to supersonic speed," the company added.

Firefly Aerospace also received a significant amount of flight data.

As reported, according to a livestream of the rocket’s launch on YouTube, the launch window opened on September 3 between 4:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. Kyiv Time. The rocket lifted off from the Pacific coast, from the Vandenberg Space Force Base in California, at 4:58 a.m. Kyiv Time. The rocket blasted off successfully, but the mission was interrupted a couple of minutes after liftoff due to as of yet unclear circumstances. According to the video feed, the rocket exploded in flight.

Firefly Aerospace, formerly known as Firefly Space Systems, is a private U.S. company, which was founded in Texas in 2014 and specializes in developing new-generation light launch vehicles. In Dnipro, Firefly Aerospace has its own research and development center and a workshop for the experimental production of small rocket units with subsequent laboratory testing.