Who is firefly aerospace?
Firefly Aerospace, also known as Firefly, is a private space launch startup that develops small to medium-sized launch vehicles for commercial launches. Founded in 2017, Firefly quickly became a proponent of the NewSpace movement, which aims to increase space access through advancements in the reduction of cost as well as the lessening of regulations and restrictions associated with dependence on national space institutions.
“Firefly Aerospace Inc. (“Firefly”), headquartered in Austin, TX, is committed to providing economical and convenient access to space for small payloads through the design, manufacture and operation of reliable launch vehicles. The Firefly team addresses the market's need for flexible access to space with a “simplest/soonest” approach to technology selection. Firefly launch vehicles embody the insights of a diverse design team and leverage commercial off–the–shelf (COTS) components, manufactured by suppliers across the United States, to reduce risk, maximize reliability and minimize development time.”
(from Firefly Aerospace)
Firefly focuses on delivering small satellites, such as CubeSats, for startup companies, research groups, and educational institutions. Firefly is currently leasing CCAFS SLC-20.
Firefly is currently developing a two-stage expendable launch vehicle called Firefly α (Firefly Alpha). The 29-meter (95-foot) tall rocket is made from a carbon-fiber composite material and will be available for both full vehicle (one payload) and ride share (multiple payload) missions. Alpha’s first stage will be powered by four RP1-fueled Reaver-1 engines and will be capable of 165,500 pounds of thrust. The second stage will be powered by one RP1-fueled Lightning 1 engine providing 15,800 pounds of thrust. Firefly is planning to start launching Alpha in December 2019 from Vandenberg AFB in California and will eventually begin launching from CCAFS SLC-20.