Firefly Aerospace has successfully launched an Alpha rocket decorated with the colour of the Ukrainian flag into space. Photos and video
The space company Firefly Aerospace has successfully launched the second Alpha rocket, which was developed by a Ukrainian team. It took place from the US Space Force's Wadenberg base.
This was announced by the company's founder and former co-owner, Ukrainian businessman Max Polyakov, on Facebook. He noted that the rocket was painted with the colours of the Ukrainian flag (to see photos and videos, scroll to the bottom of the page).
"This is a message to all those who can read between the lines. Glory to Ukraine!" - Polyakov wrote.
The rocket delivered several microsatellites into orbit - two CubeSat educational and scientific satellites and five PicoSats. This was reported by Space.com.
There is also a capsule on board with 128 postcards from students from all over the United States.
This was the second attempt at an Alpha orbital launch. Its main goal was to test all rocket systems. The first launch took place in September 2021, but then one of the launch vehicle's engines failed, leading to the mission's failure.
The second attempt was much more successful. The launch vehicle stages successfully separated 2.5 minutes after take-off, and the second stage reached orbit five minutes later.
Firefly became the third private company to successfully reach orbit on the second attempt. Previously, this was done by Rocket Lab and Richard Branson's Virgin Orbit. No other private company has succeeded in doing so on the first attempt.
The main investor and shareholder of Firefly Aerospace was Ukrainian Maxim Polyakov. Five years ago, he bought the company's assets after bankruptcy and invested about $210 million.
However, on December 29, 2021, it became known that the US Committee on Foreign Investment (CFIUS) demanded that the Ukrainian sell his stake in Firefly Aerospace.
According to Bloomberg, representatives of the US government and the aerospace industry have expressed concerns that valuable technology could end up in Ukraine, Russia, or other countries trying to develop missile programmes.
In February of this year, Polyakov sold his stake for a symbolic sum.
As OBOZREVATEL previously reported, on September 3, 2021, the Ukrainian company Firefly Aerospace launched a rocket into space for the first time.
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