U.S.-based New Space launch provider Firefly has announced that it has signed a Launch Services Agreement (LSA) with the UK small satellite manufacturer Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL) to launch six satellites between 2020 and 2022.
The announcement comes as Firefly is on course to conduct the maiden launch of its Alpha launch vehicle in the third quarter of 2019, and as the company is also seeking to establish a facility in the Indian Ocean Region in return for an investment tranche.
“Firefly is pleased to enter into an LSA with SSTL to provide up to six Alpha launches from 2020 through 2022,” said Firefly CEO Dr. Tom Markusic. “The Alpha launch vehicle allows for deployment of SSTL satellites as a primary payload to their preferred orbit, rather than flying as a secondary payload on a larger launch vehicle.”
Sarah Parker, SSTL Managing Director, said, “SSTL is delighted to be the first Firefly Aerospace customer to sign an LSA. Our new partnership with Firefly assures SSTL customers convenient, dependable access to space, with certainty of launch opportunities. Starting with CARBONITE-4 in early 2020, we look forward to launching many successful missions together.”
Dr. Max Polyakov, Firefly co-founder, added that, “The Firefly Alpha program is on schedule for our first launch in the third quarter of 2019. Our mass production processes will enable eight Alpha flights in 2020 and eighteen flights in 2021. This launch cadence will allow Firefly to support missions from SSTL and the many other customers that have expressed interest in the Alpha launch vehicle. Firefly is excited to join with SSTL in opening space to a new generation of entrepreneurs.”
Firefly was resurrected by Polyakov’s Noosphere Ventures of Menlo Park, California, in 2016, and is currently developing Alpha and Beta launch vehicles to exclusively serve the small and medium-sized satellite launch market. Headquartered in Cedar Park, Texas, Firefly also has offices in Washington, DC; Dnipro, Ukraine; and Tokyo, Japan.