Firefly Aerospace traces rocket launch failure to premature engine shutdown

Firefly Aerospace’s debut launch last week failed because of a premature engine shutdown, company representatives have determined.

Texas-based Firefly conducted its first-ever orbital test flight on Thursday (Sept. 2), sending its 95-foot-tall (29 meters) Alpha rocket skyward from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. About 2.5 minutes after liftoff, the two-stage launcher began to tumble, and shortly thereafter it exploded in a dramatic fireball.

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