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Thursday, September 2, 2021

THE HAPPENING WORLD: Firefly Aerospace Alpha FLTA001 “DREAM” Launch

The launch of Firefly's first Alpha small satellite launcher is scheduled for a four hour launch window between 01:00 and 05:00 UTC on Friday, 2021-09-03. The launch will take place from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, Space Launch Complex 2 (SLC-2). Weather is forecast as 100% favourable for launch. This is the first flight for Firefly and its rocket, and will be only the second launch from Vandenberg of any rocket in 2021. If successful, Alpha will place several small satellites in a 300 km orbit with 138° inclination. Here is a preview of the mission. Read more details about the Firefly Alpha.

Everyday Astronaut (Tim Dodd) will be livestreaming the launch attempt at the following channel, with the stream starting one hour before the scheduled launch time (which may be any time within the launch window).

The following video shows a static test firing of this rocket which was conducted on 2021-08-18. The first stage Reaver 1 (heh!) engines use a combustion tap-off cycle, which makes them challenging to start: you'll see a very prominent green flash of the TEA-TEB hypergolic starter fluid used to start combustion and ramp up to sufficient chamber pressure to allow the tap-off to drive the turbopumps.

If you look closely at this video, you may spot an Autodesk logo on the first stage. Autodesk products were used by Firefly in the design of the vehicle, as described by this page and embedded video.

Posted at September 2, 2021 18:56