Rocket Launch Postponed: Firefly Alpha Rocket Set to Light Up West Coast Sky Just After Sunset

Santa Barbara, California – The scheduled launch of Firefly Aerospace’s Alpha rocket has been postponed to Tuesday night, providing a potential viewing opportunity for Southern Californians and other sky-watchers in the U.S. West. The rocket is set to launch from the Santa Barbara County coast as part of the “Noise of Summer” mission.

The launch window will open at 9:03 p.m. PT at Vandenberg Space Force Base, located about 160 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles. If skies are clear, the rocket’s exhaust plume illuminated by the setting sun against the darkening sky backdrop may be visible for a large swath of the U.S. West as it soars over the Pacific Ocean.

Typically, rockets launched from Vandenberg Space Force Base are visible for hundreds of miles along the coast, with launches just after sunset and before sunrise offering the best views as the rocket reflects the sun’s rays against the dark sky. In Los Angeles, sunset is scheduled for 8:08 p.m. on Tuesday.

The upcoming launch will mark the Alpha rocket’s fifth mission, coming six months after its last flight was scrubbed due to a ground release equipment issue. The “Noise of Summer” Earth science mission will involve launching eight cubesats, small box-shaped mini-satellites, from the 95-foot-tall Alpha rocket.

Two of the cubesats were designed to work together to improve relative navigation between spacecraft in orbit, aiming to address the increasing satellite congestion issue in space. These cubesats were selected as part of NASA’s Cubesat Launch Initiative, created to facilitate the launch of satellites developed at U.S. colleges, universities, and nonprofit organizations.

For more information about the eight satellites being launched, viewers can visit a provided link for additional details. Live coverage of the launch can also be accessed through Firefly and Be sure to catch this exciting event as the Alpha rocket embarks on its mission from the California coast.