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Suspected debris from Firefly rocket explosion discovered along Central Coast

No injuries have been reported
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Posted at 8:11 AM, Sep 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-03 11:14:04-04

Debris from a Firefly Alpha rocket that exploded over the Pacific Ocean Thursday evening may be found along parts of the Central Coast.

Vandenberg Space Force Base says investigators have determined any debris from the rocket should be considered unsafe.

They are asking anyone who sees debris or suspected debris to stay at least 50 feet away from it and report the findings to the Firefly Aerospace Inc. hotline at (805) 605-2734.

There were reports of debris falling in Orcutt Thursday night. Some at Orcutt Community Park and also at Lake Marie Estates.

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Suspected rocket debris found at Orcutt Community Park Thursday night

The rocket launched during the second attempt at 6:59 p.m. and was terminated by Space Launch Delta 30 after experiencing an anomaly around two minutes and 30 seconds after takeoff.

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The first launch attempt scheduled for 6 p.m. was aborted.

Firefly said the main purpose of the inaugural launch was to make sure its employees are on the right track, using the correct inputs and working toward the goal of putting other projects into space.

Following the launch, Firefly said in a statement, “While we did not meet all of our mission objectives, we did achieve a number of them: successful first stage ignition, liftoff of the pad, progression to supersonic speed, and we obtained a substantial amount of flight data.”

Recreational facilities that were closed during the launch, including base beaches, will remain closed for the time being.

“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,” Firefly said. “We will utilize the data we obtained from the test flight and apply it to future missions.”

No injuries have been reported.