Firefly's first rocket was launched from Vandenberg Space Force Base, California. It carried several payloads that were intended to reach low Earth orbit. Although the rocket launched as planned, it was able to do well for the first part of the launch. However, the rocket experienced an anomaly which led to an explosion that caused the vehicle to lose its entire mass before reaching space.
Today's rocket flew from Fireflys Alpha launch vehicle. This was the first time that Fireflys Alpha launched a rocket. It is an achievement to get off the pad the first time. The loss of the vehicle appears to have occurred after max q, which is the point at which the spacecraft experiences the greatest aerodynamic stress before leaving the Earth's atmosphere.
Firefly released a Twitter statement shortly after the explosion. The stream was hosted by Everyday Astronaut and featured audio and video from the company. The statement stated that ground staff had cleared the area around the pad to reduce risk and adhere to safety protocols.
The company plans to share more information about the Alpha rocket's fate and the reasons it was lost. We will update accordingly.
Firefly Aerospace is a private commercial launch company based in Austin. It was founded in 204, and it survived bankruptcy to become Firefly Aerospace. The Alpha rocket, a fully expendable small launch vehicle capable of carrying around 2,200 lbs into low-Earth orbit is the company's flagship. A Beta rocket is also in development that should be capable of carrying around 17,000 lbs worth payload to LEO.