The American company Firefly Aerospace will try to launch the Alpha rocket again. The first attempt, which took place about 9 months ago, failed. One of the rocket’s engines failed and the whole device was lost.
After that, the company had problems with regulators. The owner of a controlling stake, Ukrainian Maxim Polyakov, received a letter from the US Foreign Investment Committee (CFIUS) asking him to sell his stake in Firefly for reasons of national security. Polyakov denied the threat to national security from his side, however in February 2022 he sold 58% of company shares for 1$ to his partner and co-founder Tom Markusic.
After that, Firefly Aerospace got the green light for the second launch attempt. In the new rocket, the designers eliminated the shortcomings that caused the failure almost a year ago. In particular, at that time the engine was damaged by strong vibration. The new engines run with less vibration, and the developers have made sure that the weak spot is affected as little as possible.
Also, during the first launch, the engines moved and caused the whole body of the rocket to oscillate. The designers studied this phenomenon and tried to eliminate it with minor changes.
According to Markusic the second assembly of the Alpha rocket is more mature, and all components correspond better to each other. The design of the rocket is stronger, so its developers feel more confident with the new launch.
Everything needed for the second launch is already at the Vandenberg space base. The estimated date of the rocket launch is July 17.