ABL Space Systems' first RS1 orbital launch ends in blast: 9 first-stage engines simultaneously shut down

January 12, 2023  14:30

ABL Space Systems' first orbital launch of the RS1 rocket ended in failure: nine engines on the first stage simultaneously shut down, causing the rocket to fall to the pad and explode. The rocket carried two small OmniTeq satellites.

The rocket was scheduled to make its first flight on Jan. 10. Twenty minutes after the launch, the company reported on social media that the launch failed.

“After liftoff, RS1 experienced an anomaly and shut down prematurely. The team is working through our anomaly response procedures in coordination with PSCA and the FAA,” ABL tweeted.

Later it became known about some details of the incident: shortly after the launch, as noted above, all nine engines on the first stage shut down simultaneously, leading to the fall and explosion of the rocket. The personnel at the time were safe and no one was injured as a result of the explosion, and the fire was soon extinguished. True, the launch pad, as expected, was damaged.

"As expected in this scenario, there is damage to the launch facility. All personnel are safe, and fires have subsided. We'll plan our return to flight after investigations are complete. Thanks to our stakeholders and the space community for the expressions of support," ABL said in another tweet.

They added that the company is ready to fly after the investigation of the incident is completed.

The RS1 is a small two-stage launch vehicle that can carry up to 1,350 kilograms of payloads into low Earth orbit. The rocket has 9 E2 engines on the first stage and one E2 engine on the upper stage, using kerosene and liquid oxygen.

There was also a failure of the first ever space launch from UK which resulted in Virgin Orbit losing 9 satellites that it wanted to launch into space. 

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