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Inaugural Firefly Aerospace launch explodes into flames


The debut launch of a new rocket from Cedar Park-based company Firefly Aerospace came down in flames after taking off from the Vandenberg Space Force Base in California yesterday.

(Courtesy of Nora K. Wallace)

Standing nearly 100 feet tall, the rocket took off at 9 p.m. Thursday with a groan, followed by an unintended fireworks show after two minutes in the air. A Firefly statement said they didn't meet all of their launch objectives, though they did meet goals of a successful first launch initiation, flight data, liftoff from the pad and progression to supersonic speed.

The company said they will provide more information as it becomes available.

"Alpha experienced an anomaly resulting in an early end of the mission," Firefly announced on Twitter. "We are happy to report that there were no injuries associated with the anomaly."

Firefly's unsuccessful launch is not the first of its kind—Electron, LauncherOne, Rocket 3.1 all failed their first launch as well, according to senior space editor at Ars Technica Eric Berger on Twitter.

The Alpha rocket carried 203 pounds of payload, the weight in the flight that generates revenue, which Firefly refers to as "DREAM"—Dedicated Research and Education Accelerator Mission—that contains tiny satellites and memorabilia from schools.

Firefly's upcoming Space Utility Vehicle, a solar-electric space tug that delivers payloads into orbit, also took a ride on the vehicle.

The company planned to carry the load into orbit 186 miles above the Earth, though safety personnel sent a destruct command when the craft began to veer off course.

"We want to thank the teams at Vandenberg Space Force Base and Space Launch Delta 30 for their partnership in this launch and the FAA for their continued support," Firefly said.

For now, the company is continuing to work toward its Blue Ghost, a Beta and robotic moon lander that Firefly is developing for NASA, and Gamma, a reusable space plane that can provide fast transportation from Earth to the cosmos.


Tito's releases (not so?) ugly sweater line for the holidays, profits to charity

Tito's Handmade Vodka

Show your love for Tito's and for the community this year with a wide selection of not that ugly, uglyish, ugly, uglier, and ugliest holiday sweaters.

There's lots choose from, and plenty of accessories like scarves and socks, plus gear for your dog, too.

All of the items can be purchased online or at the Love, Tito’s Retail Store in Austin, TX. 100% of all net proceeds from online or in-store purchases go to one of the nonprofits we’ve teamed up with.

Click here to see the entire collection in the Tito's store.

Mac and Cheese Fest and Free Art Exhibit
Waterloo Greenway, Good Vibrations Installation

🗓 All weekend

🎨 Creek Show Art Exhibit

Check out this highly anticipated art exhibition with illuminated art along Waller Creek. Tickets are free and the event includes food vendors, dazzling lights, live music, and hands-on activities

All weekend 6 p.m - 10 p.m | 📍Waterloo Park

✨ Mozart's Light Show

This iconic holiday tradition lights up for the first time this holiday season starting this weekend! Reserve your spot for an enchanting light and sound performance, delicious hot cocoa, sweet treats, and some overall fun with your friends or family. The show runs till January 6th.

6 p.m and 9 p.m | 📍Mozart's Coffee Roasters - 3825 Lake Austin Blvd, Austin, TX 78703

🗓 Saturday

🥊 Kickboxing in the Park

This fitness event is free and open to the public. Get your morning started right with a "Fitness in the park" class for kickboxing! The class will be led by certified instructors and is a great way to get a cardio workout in while also honing your self-defense skills.

10 a.m - 11 a.m | 📍 Metz Park

🛍 The Front Market

Support local LBGTQ+ and female artists at this outdoor market with over 150 vendors. Get your holiday shopping out of the way at this event, with vendors for food trucks, handmade goods, raffles, hands on workshops and activities, and more.

11 a.m - 5 p.m | 📍Ani's Day and Night - 7107 E Riverside Drive, Austin, TX 78741

🗓 Sunday

🧀 Mac and Cheese Fest

Did someone say cheese?! If you're like me and always willing to get your hands on a bowl of mac and cheese, then this event is for you. Check out the Mac and Cheese festival happening this weekend to decide which vendor has. the best mac and cheese for yourself, and enjoy the bar with creative cocktails while you're at it. Tickets start at $45.

11 a.m - 3 p.m | 📍Lantana Place - 7415 Southwest Parkway