Firefly to try Vandenberg rocket launch again — after 3 failed attempts this month

Firefly Aerospace

Previous attempts were delayed by tech problems, wind and rain — but Firefly Aerospace will try once again to launch a rocket from Vandenberg Space Force Base early Friday morning.

The Texas company is targeting a launch just after midnight, with a backup window on Saturday at the same time.

Firefly has prepped to launch its Alpha rocket three times in the past month, each time meeting with some delay.

Firefly’s first rocket launch in September 2021 ended in a fiery blast when the company’s rocket exploded 15 seconds into the flight — raining bits of debris across the Central Coast.

Now Firefly is hoping to try again.

What the company is cheekily calling “Alpha Flight 2: To The Black” will be Firefly’s attempt to launch multiple satellites into low-Earth orbit, according to a news release.

“Alpha will first insert into an elliptical transfer orbit, coast to apogee and perform a circularization burn,” the release said.

The rocket will carry several payloads, including a Teachers in Space CubeSat miniature satellite that will collect data during the mission and make it available to the educational community; a NASA CubeSat designed in coordination with San Jose State; and a picosatellite, or, ultra-small satellite, deployer that will “test the world’s first fully free and open source telecommunications constellation,” according to Firefly.

The launch will be livestreamed by Everyday Astronaut. The livestream will begin approximately an hour ahead of launch.

Updates can be found at firefly.com/alpha-flight-2-to-the-black.