ABL Space Systems rocket experiences simultaneous engine shutdown shortly after takeoff • TechCrunch

Launch launch Space system ABL’ The first launch attempt to orbit ended in failure on Tuesday after all nine engines on the RS1 rocket’s first stage stopped working simultaneously. The rocket then hit the launch pad and was destroyed on impact.

The rocket took off from the Pacific Spaceport Complex on Alaska’s Kodiak Island at about 6:27 p.m. EST. It is not clear how long after takeoff the engine failed. The rocket is carrying a demonstration of CubeSat technology for data analytics company OmniTeq. While the payload was lost, no personnel were injured by the missile’s impact.

As is customary with unusual rocket launches, the company is working with officials from the spaceport and the US Federal Aviation Administration to investigate the cause of the engine shutdown.

ABL President Dan Piemont told TechCrunch that while the investigation is still in its early stages, “The concurrency of the outage is strong evidence but it will take longer for the team to narrow down the factors. contributing and root cause.”

ABL’s 88-foot RS1 high usable rocket is capable of carrying up to 1,350 kilograms into low Earth orbit, similar to Firefly Aerospace’s Alpha vehicle. The company has previously said that each launch will cost around $12 million, placing it in a growing field of competitors looking to offer a quick launch at a low cost. .

Tuesday’s failure comes just a day after a Virgin Orbit mission went through its own anomaly, ended the mission early. Two other rockets have also encountered problems in the past month: Arianespace’s Vega-C and Chinese company Landspace’s Zhuque-2, which will be the first methane-fueled rockets to reach orbit.

ABL has raised $420 million since its inception in 2017, including a $200 million Series B expansion round in December 2021 at a $2.4 billion valuation. Its investors include Lockheed Martin, which bought a block of up to 58 launches from the startup last April.

“Flight 2’s vehicle is fully assembled and ready to commence flight operations, so we are doing our best to continue that as soon as the Flight 1 investigation is complete,” said Piemont. .


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