Firefly said an “anomaly” occurred during the first-stage ascent that “resulted in the loss of the vehicle” about 2.5 minutes into the flight.
The rocket exploded in a fireball, leaving a smoke trail. A team of investigators will try to determine what caused the failure of Alpha’s first attempted orbital launch.
The launch had pushed back an hour after a first attempt was aborted.
Standing 95 feet (26 meters) high, the two-stage Alpha rocket was designed to launch up to 2,200 pounds (1,000 kilograms) of payload into low Earth orbit.
Headquartered in Austin, Texas, Firefly is developing various launch and space vehicles, including a lunar lander. It’s Alpha rocket was designed to target the growing market for launching small satellites into Earth orbit.