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Rocket launch aborted on launch pad at Vandenberg Space Foce Base

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Firefly Aerospace
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The planned test launch of a Firefly Aerospace Alpha rocket from Vandenberg Space Force Base was aborted by a computer Friday morning. A computer shut down its engines before it left the launch pad.

Engines fired off as planned, but computer then triggered their shutdown before Firefly Aerospace's Alpha rocket was able to leave the launch pad.

A launch team is trying to figure out what led to a failed rocket launch attempt from Vandenberg Space Force Base.

Firefly Aerospace was trying to launch its Alpha rocket from the base early Friday morning. The nearly 100 foot tall rocket’s engines fired off as planned just before 1 a.m., but a computer then shut down the engines. The rocket never left the pad, and it appeared to be undamaged.

It was the fourth attempt to launch the rocket this month. The first was scrubbed due to a technical issue, and two others were cancelled by weather concerns. Last year, an Alpha rocket took off from Vandenberg, but an unplanned engine shutdown forced the launch crew to trigger its destruct button seconds after liftoff.

Firefly’s Alpha rocket is intended to be a low cost alternative to carrying small satellites into a low earth orbit. There’s no word yet on when the launch will be rescheduled.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral.