Firefly Aerospace, the New Space launch company revamped by US investor of Ukrainian descent Max Polyakov, has received important support from the U.S. Air Force to use the launch facilities at Vandenberg AFB in California for its Alpha and Beta launch vehicles, marking a milestone in the company’s quest to provide cheap launch options in the small- and medium-sized payload market.
Firefly Aerospace, Inc. (Firefly), a developer of orbital launch vehicles for the small to medium satellite market, announced today that the United States Air Force (USAF) has issued a “Statement of Support for the Firefly Aerospace Program, Alpha and Beta Launch Vehicles” to utilize Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB) Space Launch Complex 2 West (SLC-2W) for future launches of the Firefly Alpha and Beta launch vehicles.
“Firefly Aerospace is greatly appreciative that NASA and the USAF support the transition of SLC-2W to a commercial launch site dedicated to the launch of Firefly vehicles,” said Firefly CEO Dr. Tom Markusic. “SLC-2W has been an incredible asset for US space missions for over 50 years. We are humbled and honored that Firefly Alpha and Beta launch vehicles will be adding many successful missions to the already storied history of SLC-2W.”
30th Space Wing Commander, Colonel Michael S. Hough, stated: “We are excited to be currently working with a new launch provider, Firefly, at Vandenberg Air Force Base. This is a new commercial space lift provider seeking to launch commercial satellites from SLC-2W.”
Firefly’s Director of Launch, Brad Obrocto, added: “Converting an active government launch site to commercial operation is substantially less complex and costly than the greenfield development of a new launch site, saving Firefly years of facility development and substantial capex dollars. This enables Firefly to stay on track for Alpha’s first flight by the third quarter of 2019 and ramp up to monthly launches by the end of 2020. The accommodation of Firefly launch by the USAF significantly enhances Firefly’s ability to service the full spectrum of government and commercial customers from one location and advances Firefly’s vision of ‘Making Space for Everyone.'”
Firefly is developing a family of launch vehicles to provide industry-leading affordability, convenience and reliability for dedicated light to medium lift launches. Firefly’s Alpha and Beta vehicles utilize common technologies, manufacturing infrastructure and launch capabilities, providing LEO launch solutions for up to one and four metric tons of payload respectively. Alpha and Beta will provide the space industry with access to frequent launches at the lowest cost/kg, enabling ambitious commercial and exploration missions from LEO to the moon. Headquartered in Cedar Park, Texas, Firefly has additional presence in Washington, D.C., Dnipro, Ukraine, and Tokyo, Japan. Firefly is financed by Noosphere Ventures of Menlo Park, California.