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Firefly successfully launches unmanned rocket

By Jay Croft, CNN

Texas-based commercial rocket company Firefly launched a rocket into space Friday morning, about a year after a previous attempt ended in an explosion.

The company announced “100% Mission success” on Twitter.

The Alpha rocket launched at 12:01 a.m. Pacific time from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.

It was originally set to launch September 11, but that was scrapped because the rocket’s helium pressure dropped, affiliate KSBY reported.

“The Alpha is an economical small satellite launch vehicle,” Vandenberg reported on its website. “Firefly had three educational payloads aboard and successfully inserted into an elliptical transfer orbit, coast to apogee, and performed a circularization burn.”

It was the company’s second unmanned launch ever from Vandenberg.

In September 2021, a rocket appeared to have a smooth liftoff but then malfunctioned. US Space Force officials ordered the company to destroy the rocket in mid-air to prevent hurting people or property below. No one was injured.

Firefly and other commercial rocket companies are trying to make space a place of competitive business rather than the sole domain of governments.

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