Firefly rocket explodes minutes after launch and fails to leave Earth

A 30 meter high rocket exploded minutes after launching the Vanderberg Space Force Base in Los Angeles, California (USA), on Thursday (2), failing to leave Earth.

With the explosion, the Texas-based developer company Firefly’s space mission was deemed a failure. It was the startup’s first attempt to reach the planet’s orbit.

The rocket appeared to have a good takeoff as it flew over the Pacific Ocean and approached supersonic speeds.

However, at one point, the rocket began to spin on itself, before US Space Force officers ordered the company to destroy the rocket in midair.

The technical team, which accompanies the launch of the land, is responsible for the so-called “emergency abortion”. The procedure is for the rocket not to return ungoverned to land, hitting people or property.

According to Firefly, the company is working with federal regulators to determine what went wrong before working on its next orbital flight attempt.

“Although we didn’t achieve all of our mission objectives, we achieved several of them: successful first stage ignition, platform takeoff, progression to supersonic speed, and obtained a substantial amount of flight data,” the company stated on Twitter.

According to information from CNN International, no one was hurt by the explosion.

Loss of rockets in 2021

Firefly isn’t the only space company to lose a rocket in 2021. Astra (ASTR), a California-based company with a business plan similar to Firefly’s, last week tried to put its 13-metre-tall rocket into orbit.

Like Firefly, Astra failed and also saw her rocket explode. At launch, the vehicle swerved to the side, off its platform and even tried to return to its axis. However, it exploded over the coast of Alaska.

There’s also SpaceX, which suffered many explosions during the early stages of development of its rocket technology.

The first prototypes of a rocket that the company hopes will one day place humans on Mars, for example, have exploded several times around Earth this year.

new space companies

Firefly is among a long list of commercial rocket companies looking to make space a competitive business location rather than the exclusive domain of governments.

However, whether or not a startup can successfully put rockets into orbit — as companies like SpaceX, Rocket Lab and Virgin Orbit have been able to — is a determining factor in whether the company can sustain itself financially.

Firefly, for example, has already gone bankrupt once. It came out of bankruptcy in 2017 after finding new financial support and finding a new wave of support from private investors. According to data company Pitchbook, Firefly has made millions and has a valuation of $1 billion.

If Firefly had been successful last Thursday night, it would have become the third US company to successfully reach orbit with a rocket designed specifically to transport lots of tiny satellites into space.

Rocket Lab, which has so far only launched outside of New Zealand, and Virgin Orbit, the sister company of the space tourism company that took its founder, Richard Branson, to the limits of space, are so far the only American companies to achieve this. a mark.

But dozens — possibly hundreds — of companies are waiting with nearly identical business plans: Build cheap, lightweight rockets that can make frequent trips to orbit.

In contrast, the most notable of the so-called “new space companies”, SpaceX, builds massive 60 meter high rockets that can be specifically adapted to provide robust telecommunications or national security satellites for distant orbits, or large batches of small satellites to close orbits.

But Firefly and others with similar business plans are all part of a race to meet the perceived demands in the market, as space cheerleaders from Wall Street to Silicon Valley predict a near future where space-based technologies will provide the platform for every need from high speed and global internet to extraterrestrial vacation spots.