The Alpha rocket made by the company of the Ukrainian entrepreneur Maksym Polyakov, Firefly Aerospace, exploded a few minutes after the launch by the US Space Forces at Vandenberg Air Force Base, from which the launch was made. This was stated in a statement of the military on September 3.
The rocket left the ground at 18:59. The flight was the first test for Alpha, which is the largest member of the light category of launch vehicle. Its altitude is estimated at 29 m.
“[Air Force] Space Launch Delta 30 completed a Firefly Aerospace Alpha rocket launch over the Pacific Ocean at 7:01 p.m. Pacific Time after a successful launch at 6:59 p.m. from Space Launch Complex-2 at Space Force Base on Sept. 2,” the message reads.
The military also warned that any debris from the rocket should be considered unsafe. In this connection all recreational facilities near the crash site are closed until further notice.
Earlier in the day the chief designer for satellite construction of a private space company Success Rockets said that the explosion of the rocket was intentional. He assumed that Alpha gained speed not as quickly as planned and this deviation caused its destruction. However, the expert stressed that the reasons for what happened could be different and it was too early to judge.
As the Ukrainian news agency AIN.ua specifies, the rocket successfully launched, but a certain “anomaly” occurred during the ascent of the first stage, which led to the loss of the spacecraft.
The incident did not cause any injuries. The details of the incident were not disclosed.