Firefly Alpha Flight 004 Ends in Anomaly

Published by on 12/24/2023 UTC

After several delays due to uncooperative weather, Firefly’s Alpha launch vehicle has flown for the fourth time as part of the Fly the Lightning mission. Firefly was able to find a break in the weather on Friday morning, and the vehicle lifted off from SLC-2W at Vandenberg Space Force Base at 9:32 AM PST on December 22, 2023. The launch vehicle successfully lifted off on a mission to place the Tantrum satellite developed by Terran Orbital and Lockheed Martin into a unique retrograde orbit, flying the company’s first dedicated commercial mission. However, after the first planned second stage burn, the Lightning 1 upper stage engine did not reignite, resulting in a lower than intended orbit.

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