Rocket ‘terminated’ In Fiery Explosion Over Pacific Ocean

A rocket launched by Firefly Aerospace, the latest entrant in the New Space sector, is seen exploding minutes after lifting off from the central California coast on Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021. The Alpha rocket was "terminated" over the Pacific Ocean shortly after its 6:59 p.m. liftoff from Vandenberg Space Force Base, according to a base statement. (Len Wood/For The Santa Maria Times via AP)

(AP) — A privately designed, unmanned rocket built to carry satellites into orbit exploded in a fireball off the California coast.

The Alpha rocket from the company Firefly Aerospace lifted off Thursday evening at Vandenberg Space Force Base. About two-and-a-half minutes into its flight it suffered what was termed an anomaly and controllers on the ground blew it up over the Pacific Ocean. It was the first orbital attempt for Texas-based Firefly, which is targeting the growing market for launching small satellites.

The company plans to be capable of launching Alphas twice a month at a starting price of $15 million each.


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