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Firefly’s Alpha rocket successfully reaches orbit deploying multiple payloads

Firefly Aerospace’s Alpha rocket during an orbital launch attempt on Sept. 30, 2022. Credit: Firefly Aerospace / Everyday Astronaut

Edinburgh / Cedar Park, Texas, 17 October 2022. – Launch and in-space services provider Firefly Aerospace’s Alpha FLTA002 mission successfully reached orbit and deployed customer payloads, the company said. Firefly became first US commercial space company with a rocket in the 1300-kg payload lift class.

The all-composite rocket uses a tap-off engine cycle technology. The launch vehicle completed a two-burn maneuver after which it deployed a total of three payloads. These included spacecraft to help in the deorbiting of satellites and test a free, open-source telecommunications constellation.

The flight success came after a failed previous attempt when Alpha’s first-stage Reaver engines shut down almost immediately after firing up. The company said that the vehicle went into auto abort after ignition to ensure safety.

Firefly is now in the process of completing the Acceptance Testing Protocol (ATP) for its  Alpha 3. This vehicle will launch the NASA VCLS Demo 2-FB ELaNa 43. The company has six Alpha launches for 2023, and 12 more for 2024 so far.

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