Following what appeared to be a normal launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, Firefly Aerospace’s first Alpha rocket launch ended in a total failure. (Photo of the rocket explosion is courtesy of KSBY, Channel 6, and Kris Rosson.)
An anomaly occurred prior to the launch vehicle attaining higher altitude on its way to space — occurring directly after ‘max q,’ which is when the rocket experiences the most aerodynamic stress before climbing above Earth’s atmosphere — and the rocket and all payloads became a total loss.
Additional details as to this occurrence will be forthcoming from the company. The firm itself, founded in 2014, exited bankruptcy in 2017 and was renamed Firefly Aerospace.
Original news posting…
Libre Space Foundation‘s QUBIK mission is scheduled to launch on the September 2nd on Firefly Aerospace’s inaugural flight of their Alpha launch vehicle, scheduled to occur on September 2.
This mission will be supporting Libre Space Foundation’s QUBIK Mission as well as several other technical and non-technical payloads from around the world.
Launching from the Vandenberg Space Force Base, USA, the launch window is:
- September 03, 2021 – 01:00-05:00 UTC
- September 02, 2021 – 18:00-22:00 PDT, local time
The times are subject to change.
The Dedicated Research and Education Accelerator Mission (DREAM) provided a unique opportunity to schools, institutions, labs, non-profits and startups to gain access to space. Firefly Aerospace is hosting academic and educational payloads, free of charge, on this inaugural Alpha launch.
The QUBIK mission is comprised of two components, the QUBIK-1 and QUBIK-2 smallsats, measuring 5x5x5 cm, and the PocketQube dispenser, called PICOBUS. The PICOBUS deployer is the first, open-source, PocketQube deployer.
The QUBIK PocketQubes (pictured above, photo courtesy of Libre Space) are to be short-lived, with only ~3 weeks of predicted orbit lifespan. This short timeframe will suffice for a series of amateur radio experiments on Identifying and Tracking satellites early on, upon deployment.
The experiments will be conducted with the help of SatNOGS, the world’s largest open-source network of satellite ground stations. This is a network of 400+ stations in more than 50 countries around the world.
Libre Space Foundation (LSF) is a non-profit organization involved in designing and developing open-source, space-related technologies. LSF was founded in 2015 and focuses on supporting knowledge, scientific research and works toward making space accessible to everyone interested. True to the vision “for an Open and Accessible Outer Space for all,” the projects that LSF supports and maintains are opensource and available to everyone. Libre Space Foundation maintains collaborations with space agencies, university institutions, space organizations, libraries and companies that help make space an open environment for all humanity.