Firefly’s Alpha rocket detonated by Space Force during first launch 



Small launch company Firefly’s Alpha rocket exploded mid-flight Thursday night, minutes after a clean liftoff during its first attempt to reach space. The rocket was terminated, Space Force officials said, as it began tipping sideways off course just after reaching supersonic speeds. Firefly said it’s working with regulators to investigate the cause of the failure.

Alpha, a two-stage rocket standing ten stories tall, lifted off from the Vandenberg Space Force base in California at 9:59PM ET on Thursday, aiming to send a payload of tiny private satellites to space at no charge to the owners. The launch was risky — it was Firefly’s first ever mission, so a failure wasn’t a big surprise. Two and a half minutes after liftoff, the rocket fell…

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