Late yesterday, a small fire broke out at the Firefly Aerospace facility in Austin Texas resulting in homes and businesses within two kilometers of the facility being evacuated. The fire was caused by an anomaly that occurred during a static fire test of an Alpha rocket first stage.
As Firefly begins preparations for the maiden flight of the company’s Alpha rocket, it has begun testing several key components of the vehicle. Late yesterday, the company had planned to perform a short static fire test of an Alpha first stage. At some point during the test, an anomaly occurred resulting in a fire.
As a precaution, all Firefly personnel at the facility were evacuated. In a statement following the incident, a spokesperson for the company explained that the fire had then been extinguished successfully by the fire suppression systems on the test stand.
“The fire was quickly extinguished by our fire suppression systems on the stand and the local community emergency response team quickly responded. Both the test stand and our rocket are intact.”
Following the evacuation of the Firefly facility, the Burnet County Sheriff’s Office made the decision to evacuate all homes and businesses within two kilometers of the facility. Despite the caution, Firefly has stated that “at no time was there any risk to individuals on-site or [in] the community.”
Prior to the incident, Firefly had planned to launch the maiden flight of the company’s Alpha rocket in the first half of this year. It is currently unclear how this incident will affect that schedule.