On May 17, Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko visited the new R&D center of the private aerospace company Firefly Aerospace in the city of Dnipro (Ukraine). The President was met by Maxim Polyakov, founder of Firefly Aerospace.
Maxim Polyakov, an American entrepreneur of Ukrainian origin, bought out the bankrupt company Firefly Space Systems and rebranded it as Firefly Aerospace in 2017. The company’s goal is to make space access more independent from the national space agencies and to reduce the launch costs. The company has its headquarters in Austin, Texas.
The opening of the enterprise will help in the development of the aerospace industry in Ukraine. According to Maxim Polyakov, the company’s facility in Dnipro will be tasked with developing, producing and testing elements for small-lift launch vehicles Firefly α (Firefly Alpha) and Firefly β (Firefly Beta).
Firefly α is an oxygen rocket designed to deliver cargo weighing 2,205 pounds (1000 kg) to the low Earth orbit or 500 pounds (225 kg) to a Sun-synchronous orbit. Firefly β will be able to deliver cargo weighing 8,818 pounds (4000 kg) to a low Earth orbit and 6613 pounds (3000 kg) to a Sun-synchronous orbit. This rocket is now being designed.
Maxim Polyakov demonstrated to Petro Poroshenko the components and parts manufactured for the new rocket. During the presentation, he also talked about the goals and achievements of Firefly Aerospace.