Officials from Vandenberg Space Force Base warned local residents to watch for debris on Friday following the termination of a rocket that experienced an “anomaly” during a launch Thursday evening.
The rocket launched Thursday was the inaugural Firefly Aerospace Inc. Alpha rocket. It lifted off over the Pacific Ocean around 7 p.m. Thursday evening. After about two minutes in the air, officials said the Alpha rocket “experienced an anomaly,” and was terminated via self-destruct commands by Space Launch Delta 30.
The cause of the failure is under investigation by Vandenberg and Firefly Aerospace officials, who said in a statement that they would provide more information as it became available.
No injuries associated with the explosion were reported in the hours after the incident, though Vandenberg officials released a statement Friday urging the public to watch out for debris and report it if it is found. According to the statement, any debris from the rocket “should be considered unsafe” and individuals are encouraged to stay 50 feet away from fallen debris.
During the day Friday, KSBY-TV reported that debris was found in the front yard of several residents in Orcutt. If additional debris is found, local residents are encouraged to call the Firefly Aerospace Inc. hotline at 805-605-2734.
In a statement, Firefly Aerospace said that while its inaugural mission did not complete all of its mission objectives, the company still achieved a successful first stage ignition, liftoff off the pad, progression to supersonic speed and the collection of flight data.
“While it’s too early to draw conclusions as to the root cause, we will be diligent in our investigation, in partnership with the FAA and Vandenberg Space Force Base,” the company said in a statement. “We will utilize the data we obtained from the test flight and apply it to future missions. Our engineers are currently combing through thousands of lines of ground and flight system telemetry in order to better understand what occurred.”