Firefly Aerospace has recently entered into an agreement with Lockheed Martin to launch a small satellite on Firefly’s Alpha vehicle. The announcement was made on June 29, though no specific timeline for the launch was disclosed at this time.
The purpose of the agreement is to carry out a technology demonstration mission for Lockheed Martin. The aerospace company is actively developing self-funded space experiments aimed at showcasing various technologies for potential government customers.
Lockheed Martin has been exploring different options for launching its payloads, having previously signed a deal with ABL Space in 2021 to launch up to 58 payloads. ABL Space, in which Lockheed Martin has a strategic investment, experienced a launch failure in January, and there is no official update on the company’s next launch attempt.
The collaboration with Firefly Aerospace presents an opportunity for Lockheed Martin to leverage Firefly’s Alpha vehicle to deploy its technology demonstration mission. Firefly is known for its innovative solutions that provide access to space for small payloads, making it an attractive choice for this partnership.
As Lockheed Martin continues to work with ABL Space on their return to flight, the company has signed an agreement with Firefly Aerospace to launch one of their small satellites on Firefly’s Alpha vehicle. This move allows Lockheed Martin to meet its launch requirements for their technology demonstration missions while ABL Space works towards its next flight attempt.
Firefly Aerospace, founded in 2014, has launched its Alpha rocket twice from Vandenberg Space Force Base, California. The Alpha launch vehicle is designed to carry payloads of more than 1,000 kilograms to low Earth orbit. The first Alpha launch in September 2021 encountered a failure, while the second launch in October 2022 successfully reached orbit but experienced issues with payload insertion, causing them to reenter Earth’s atmosphere after several days.
By partnering with Firefly for this upcoming launch, Lockheed Martin aims to utilize the innovative capabilities of the Alpha vehicle to deploy its small satellite as part of their technology demonstration mission.
Firefly Aerospace’s launch capabilities have positioned them to provide on-demand launch services for both government and commercial customers. The company has secured contracts for upcoming missions, including the Space Force mission called “Victus Nox” scheduled for launch sometime this summer, and a demonstration mission for NASA under the Venture Class Launch Services contract.
With the necessary infrastructure, technologies, systems, and a dedicated team, Firefly is ready to fulfill the launch needs of various customers, ranging from government agencies to private companies. As they continue to improve their launch vehicle, the Alpha rocket, Firefly aims to expand its portfolio of successful missions, offering reliable and efficient access to space for a wide range of payloads and customers.