London, March 22, 2023.- Firefly Aerospace, Inc. an American end-to-end space transportation company, has been awarded a $112 million NASA contract to deliver multiple lunar payloads in 2026. This is Firefly’s second task order won under NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) initiative. The company will use its Blue Ghost spacecraft in a two-stage configuration to place a satellite into lunar orbit and then deliver two research payloads on the far side of the Moon.
This will be the first mission where Firefly’s two-stage Blue Ghost spacecraft will be used. This will allow multiple deployment options as the ongoing lunar operations infrastructure is built.
Firefly will advance lunar research and infrastructure in conjunction with NASA’s Moon-to-Mars roadmap. Prior to landing on the Moon, the Blue Ghost transfer vehicle will deploy the European Space Agency’s Lunar Pathfinder satellite into lunar orbit. This satellite will provide communications for future spacecraft, robots, and human explorers. After landing on the far side of the Moon, the Blue Ghost lunar lander will deliver and operate NASA’s S-band User Terminal, ensuring uninterrupted communications for lunar exploration, and a research-focused payload that measures radio emissions to provide insight into the origins of the universe.
Along with the NASA payloads, Firefly’s mission is offering payload delivery and orbital services for additional government and commercial customers. The design of the company’s Blue Ghost transfer vehicle and its propellant reserve will enable a variety of mission opportunities, including lunar sample return to Earth, further exploration to nearby planets like Mars and Venus, and long-duration orbital services, such as communications and surveying.
“Firefly’s ability to provide additional capabilities to multiple customers on the same mission lowers costs, further expands space exploration, and provides a win-win for everyone involved,” said Jana Spruce, Vice President of Spacecraft at Firefly Aerospace.
Firefly’s first mission, Blue Ghost Mission 1, is on track for launch in 2024 and will deliver 10 NASA-sponsored payloads and two commercial payloads to Mare Crisium, a low-lying basin on the Moon’s near side.