D-Orbit S.p.A., an Italian service provider of the New Space sector, signed a multi-year framework agreement with U.S.-based launch operator Firefly Aerospace Inc. on 4 March 2019 to purchase launch capacity of the Firefly Alpha launch vehicle.
The agreement grants D-Orbit the status of a preferred launch aggregation partner for the European market, allowing D-Orbit to purchase, market, and resell launch vehicle capacity, and to provide logistics support and integration activities at its operational premises in Italy.
“We are proud of this partnership with Firefly, one of the most innovative small payload launch operators,” said Pietro Guerrieri, D-Orbit Chief Strategic Officer.
“Capitalizing on the capabilities of ION CubeSat Carrier, our free-flying CubeSat deployer, we are expanding our launch services portfolio and taking an additional step in our roadmap to offer the New Space market an innovative launch transportation solution.”
“Firefly Alpha was specifically designed with the needs of our rideshare partners in mind,” said Firefly CEO Dr. Tom Markusic. “Alpha’s 630 kg to 500 km SSO capacity allows D-Orbit significant flexibility in manifesting missions. Our agreement with D-Orbit for up to fifteen launches over 5 years will allow their customers frequent, reliable access to space, on the schedule of their choosing and to the orbit that best matches their business needs.
Alpha is the first of a series of launchers being developed by Firefly for the needs of the small satellite market. The first Alpha launch is scheduled for the end of 2019, with frequent launches in 2020 and beyond. Firefly will have launch sites at Vandenberg Air Force Base and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, enabling missions to polar, SSO and lower inclination orbits.