Firefly Aerospace is a new competitor in the small sat launch arena. It can carry payloads of up to 1000 kg to low Earth orbit.
Current launch location is Space Force Base, California. The company is based in Cedar Park, Texas.
Like the Electron rocket by Rocket Lab, it is entirely made from carbon composites. Unlike the Electron, it is larger and can carry a bigger payload.
More remarkable is that the engines will run on a tap-off cycle. An engine type that has never gone orbital before.
|Rocket||Height [m]||Diameter [m]||Payload to SSO [kg]||Cost per Launch|
|Firefly Alpha||29||1,8||630||~ $15 - $18 million|
|Electron||18||1,2||200||~ $8 million|
Tim Dodd getting the chance to look at the rocket and talk to engineers: Up close and personal with Firefly's Alpha rocket!
The first attempt was unsuccessful because of an engine failure early in the flight. The rocket lost control over two minutes into flight and had to be destroyed by the automated flight termination system.
The second attempt was a partial success because Firefly demonstrated successful stage separation and upper stage ignition. Unfortunately, it ended up in a lower than intended orbit and the payloads decayed much faster than intended.
This mission serves to prove rapid response launch capabilities for the Space Systems Command.
Astra received a similar contract to show that they are able for a quick turn-around with short notice.
Team is currently preparing for launch. As they are new to the launch process, there is a high chance that the launch will be rescheduled on short notice.
Even though SpaceX makes a Falcon 9 launch look easy, even they aren’t save against catastrophic failures when trying something new.
Always remember: A scrub is cheaper than a BOOM!
Additional Information about the Rocket
Firefly Aerospace: Firefly Alpha FLTA001
First launch attempt: Reaver Causes Destruction of FireFly – Scott Manley
Cost-Plus Content: Firefly Aerospace: How the Alpha Rocket Will Change the Small-Sat Market
Useful links to stay up to date on launches:
Spaceflightnow.com: Launch Schedule
Everyday Astronaut: Prelaunch Previews
NASA Spaceflight nasaspacefight.com
Vote for my witness: @blue-witness
Posted with STEMGeeks