Rocket startup Firefly Aerospace will attempt to reach orbit for the first time in a launch tonight, Sunday, September 11. This will be the second attempt at launching its Alpha rocket, after a previous attempt around this time last year came to a dramatic end. Firefly will be hoping for a better outcome this time around, and if you’d like to watch the launch attempt then we’ve got the details on the livestream of the launch below.
The launch is to take place from Firefly’s launch site (SLC-2) at Vandenberg Space Force Base. The aim of the mission, named Alpha Flight 2, is to deliver satellites into low-Earth orbit. These include payloads that are re-creations of the payloads which were lost in the first launch attempt in September last year.
The payloads included in the mission include a three-unit CubeSat called Serenity from the group Teachers in Space, which carries a suite of sensors and a camera pointed at Earth and is designed for educational purposes. The NASA TechEdSat-15 is another three-unit CubeSat which is a test of an exo-brake device designed to use the drag of Earth’s atmosphere to slow and direct satellites. And the PicoBus is a deployer that will deliver eight tiny satellites, called picosatellites, to test an open source approach to telecommunications constellations.
The intention is to deploy the payloads around one hour after liftoff. The Alpha rocket carrying the payloads is almost 100 feet tall and is 71 inches in diameter, and is made from a lightweight carbon fiber composite.
Firefly will be livestreaming the launch attempt with its partner, Everyday Astronaut. The livestream is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. ET (2 p.m. PT) on Sunday, September 11, with the launch itself scheduled for 6 p.m. ET (3 p.m. PT). The link to the livestream will be available on Firefly’s website, or you can go directly to Everyday Astronaut’s page about the mission.