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Test Rocket Explodes After Launch From Vandenberg, Public Warned To Watch Out For Debris

NEAR LOMPOC (CBSLA) – A rocket exploded just minutes after a test launch from Vandenberg Space Force Base in Santa Barbara County Thursday night.

Texas-based Firefly Aerospace was conducting the first ever test flight of its Alpha rocket when the explosion occurred shortly after its 6:59 p.m. liftoff.

According to Firefly, about two minutes and 30 seconds into the flight there was an "anomaly" which resulted in the explosion over the Pacific Ocean.

Photos and video showed the rocket exploding into a fireball.

"Alpha experienced an anomaly during first stage ascent that resulted in the loss of the vehicle," the company tweeted. "As we gather more information, additional details will be provided."

Vandenberg SFB warned that the explosion may have sent debris into the surrounding area. The debris is considered unsafe. Anyone who sees debris believed to be from the explosion should stay at least 50 feet away and report the findings to the Firefly hotline at 805-605-2734.

All recreation facilities and beaches near the base have been closed pending an investigation.

Firefly said it did meet some of its mission objectives, including first stage ignition, lift off of the pad and progression to supersonic speed.

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