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Firefly Aerospace to Demonstrate Launch and On-Orbit Services

Firefly Aerospace
Rendering of Firefly’s Elytra Dark spacecraft. Credit: Firefly Aerospace

Ibadan, 22 March 2024. – Firefly Aerospace, Inc. has signed an agreement with the U.S. Department of Defense’s (DoD) Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) to conduct a trade study on its capabilities to rapidly launch Firefly’s Elytra vehicles and support missions beyond Geosynchronous Orbit, referred to as xGEO. Once complete, the trade study will provide the groundwork for up to two Firefly demonstration missions that will advance the DoD’s responsive access to xGEO.

The contract supports the DIU’s Sinequone project, looking to deliver cost-effective, responsive access to xGEO through both launch and orbital transfer services. Firefly will subsequently conduct up to two demonstrations to deliver multiple payloads to xGEO aboard its Elytra Dark spacecraft following the completion of the study, with the first mission completed within 18 months of receiving the approval to proceed. The missions will consequently perform technology demonstrations to advance future operations in the xGEO environment.

In addition, Firefly is ramping up for multiple upcoming responsive space missions, including a responsive on-orbit Elytra mission for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) that will launch aboard Alpha later this year and a study for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) on responsive on-orbit spacecraft hubs.

Speaking on the missions, Bill Weber, CEO of Firefly Aerospace, said, “Firefly’s robust vehicle lines and responsive space capabilities put us in a unique position to rapidly service the vast region of space from GEO to the Moon and beyond.” The CEO also added, “As international and commercial initiatives ramp up in this region, the Firefly team is ready to execute missions that support the growing infrastructure, provide space domain awareness, and help protect our nation’s critical assets on and around the Moon.”

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