VANDENBERg sPACE FORCE BAsE :
A NEW aerospace company reached orbit with its second rocket launch and deployed multiple small satellites on Saturday. Firefly Aerospace’s Alpha rocket lifted off from Vandenberg Space ForceBase, California, in early morning darkness and arced over the Pacific. “100% mission success,” Firefly tweeted later. A day earlier, an attempt to launch abruptly ended when the countdown reached zero. The first-stage engines ignited but the rocket automatically aborted the liftoff. Therocket’spayloadincluded multiple small satellites designed for a variety of technology experiments and demonstrations,aswellaseducational purposes.
Themission,dubbed“ToThe Black,” wasthecompany’s seconddemonstrationflightofits entry into themarketfor small satellite launchers. ThefirstAlphawaslaunched from Vandenberg on Sept. 2, 2021, but did not reach orbit. One of the four first-stage engines shut down prematurelybuttherocketcontinued upward on three engines into the supersonic realm where it tumbled out of control. The rocket was then intentionally destroyedbyanexplosiveflight termination system.