. 24/7 Space News .
Fire at Firefly Aerospace interrupts rocket test
by Paul Brinkmann
Washington DC (UPI) Jan 23, 2020

Firefly Aerospace said Thursday that it is investigating a problem with a first-stage booster rocket that caused a fire during a test near Austin, Texas, on Wednesday.

"There were no injuries and no significant damage to the facility," said Eric Salwan, Firefly's director of commercial business development. "We won't know about the rocket until an investigation."

The company, based in suburban Austin, has been planning its first launch to enter the small satellite launcher market. It had announced in February 2019 that it would build a rocket plant near Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

CBS Austin reported that homes were evacuated for a mile around the company's 200-acre test facility in Briggs, Texas, when the fire broke out. Briggs is about 50 miles from Austin.

The company said test engineers were conducting a planned test of the first stage of the Alpha launch vehicle.

This was first in a series of propulsion tests intended to verify design and operation, and involved a five-second firing of the stage's four engines.

"At 6:23 p.m. local time, the stage's engines were fired, and a fire broke out in the engine bay at the base of the rocket's stage," a statement said.

The company aborted the test immediately and fire suppression system extinguished the fire, according to the statement. A video taken from a distance and posted by CBS Austin showed apparent flames lasting for several minutes.

"Firefly engineers are reviewing test data from the stage to identify potential causes for the test failure, and Firefly will share results of that investigation once it is complete," the statement said.

In September the company told UPI it had pushed back its first launch from late 2019 to early 2020 due to supplier delays.

"We were trying for this year, but won't get there," Salwan said at the time. "Primarily, we are having issues with a few externally sourced components, such as the flight termination system."

Issues included late delivery of components and testing or qualifying them for launch, Salwan said.

Firefly said in February 2019 that it had $1.3 billion in launch business lined up. It has been funded by Noosphere Ventures, the strategic venture arm of Noosphere Global. A leading investor in Noosphere is Ukrainian technologist and investor Max Polyakov.

Since that time, at least one potential competitor, rocket startup Vector Launch, based in Tucson, Ariz., said it was "undertaking a pause of operations."

Firefly had announced in October it would partner with Aerojet Rocketdyne. One of the first projects on which the two are to collaborate is 3D printing of Firefly's Reaper engines, according to the formal announcement.

Firefly has said it intends to offer relatively inexpensive launches for small satellites on the Alpha rocket. The company also plans a bigger rocket, Firefly Beta, and possibly a space plane, Firefly Gamma.

Related Links
Rocket Science News at Space-Travel.Com

Thanks for being there;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5+ Billed Monthly

paypal only
SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal

Russia to supply US with six RD-180 rocket engines this year
Moscow (Sputnik) Jan 23, 2020
Russian rocket engine manufacturer NPO Energomash plans to ship six RD-180 rocket engines to the United States this year, government procurement website data shows. The RD-180 engines will be used to power the first stage of the Atlas V launch vehicles. In December, Energomash said that it shipped a total of six RD-180 rocket engines to the United States in 2019. In October, Roscosmos subsidiary Energomash was preparing to deliver three more RD-180 engines for use with Atlas V launch v ... read more

Comment using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Meir, Koch complete battery swaps to upgrade station power systems

Collins Aerospace to supply critical subsystems for NASA's Orion spacecraft

US tech sector sees only modest relief in China trade deal

In Seychelles, nature is prized above mass tourism

Russia to supply US with six RD-180 rocket engines this year

Fire at Firefly Aerospace interrupts rocket test

Russia claims edge as US lags in hypersonic weapons development

Aerospike rocket engines are more efficient than classic ones

Russian scientists propose manned Base on Martian Moon to control robots remotely on red planet

To infinity and beyond: interstellar lab unveils space-inspired village for future Mars settlement

Nine finalists chosen in Mars 2020 rover naming contest

Could future homes on the Moon and Mars be made of fungi?

China may have over 40 space launches in 2020

China launches powerful rocket in boost for 2020 Mars mission

China's Xichang set for 20 space launches in 2020

China sends six satellites into orbit with single rocket

Europe backs space sector investment with EUR 200 million of financing

Budget battle hampers EU in space

Lockheed Martin Ships Mobile Communications Satellite To Launch Site

Maxar Technologies to sell MDA to Northern Private Capital for CAD$1 Billion

Copper Age Italy hosted large, complex networks of metal exchange

NASA funds AnalySwift, Purdue tech to speed up composite deployable structure design

Study reveals unexpected rise in potent greenhouse gas

No need to dig too deep to find gold

Astronomers find a way to form 'fast and furious' planets around tiny stars

How the solar system got its 'Great Divide', and why it matters for life on Earth

First building blocks of life on Earth was a big mess

Astronomers reveal interstellar thread of one of life's building blocks

Looking back at a New Horizons New Year's to remember

NASA's Juno navigators enable Jupiter cyclone discovery

The PI's Perspective: What a Year, What a Decade!

Reports of Jupiter's Great Red Spot demise greatly exaggerated

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2024 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Statement Our advertisers use various cookies and the like to deliver the best ad banner available at one time. All network advertising suppliers have GDPR policies (Legitimate Interest) that conform with EU regulations for data collection. By using our websites you consent to cookie based advertising. If you do not agree with this then you must stop using the websites from May 25, 2018. Privacy Statement. Additional information can be found here at About Us.