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Firefly's Alpha rocket reaches orbit for the first time

Firefly's Alpha rocket reaches orbit for the first time

Firefly Aerospace's Alpha rocket successfully entered orbit on Saturday after its launch from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. The launch was declared as "100% mission success" with three satellite payloads deployed on board, which, according to Firefly, makes it "the first company to launch from American soil and reach orbit in only its second attempt". Is. Is."

Firefly Aerospace is a private spaceflight company that develops launch systems for commercial customers. The first unsuccessful Alpha test flight containing its payload of small satellites exploded mid-flight in September 2021. Bad luck for Firefly continued, with technical issues and inclement weather conditions aborting Alpha 2's last three launch attempts in September. ,

Firefly's Alpha vehicle is capable of launching a 745 kg (1,642 lb) payload into a 500 km (310 mi) Sun-synchronous orbit, or a larger payload into low Earth orbit. Three small satellite payloads were aboard the successful Firefly Alpha 2 flight, the largest (the Libre Space Foundation's Picobus) weighing in at just under 14 pounds—roughly the same size as a healthy pug. Picobus itself consists of six Picosatellites, which will test the world's first completely free and open-source telecommunications constellation.

Additional payloads include NASA's TechEdSat-15, a three-unit CubeSat carrying experiment for TechEdSat's nano-orbital workshop, and Serenity (we see what you did there), an educational cube satellite built by educators in space, which was designed for basic flight assembly. , The Information Alpha 3 is currently slated for launch on November 29, 2022, with six additional alpha launches planned for 2023.

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