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Firefly Aerospace to Probe Rapid Space Launch Beyond Geosynchronous Earth Orbit

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Firefly Aerospace to Probe Rapid Space Launch Beyond Geosynchronous Earth Orbit

The Pentagon’s Defense Innovation Unit has tapped Fireplace Aerospace for a trade study on the rapid launch capabilities of the company’s Elytra spacecraft to support missions beyond geosynchronous Earth orbit, or xGEO. 

The study is part of the DIU’s Sinequone project to prototype commercial launch and orbital transfer capabilities in xGEO where the agency foresees intensified national, international and commercial activities. The study’s findings will lay the foundation for two potential Firefly demonstration launches to build responsive DOD access to xGEO, Firefly Aerospace said Thursday.

The Cedar Park, Texas-based space transportation company added that its Elytra’s xGEO launches will deliver multiple payloads, with the first mission expected for completion within 18 months of its approval. Technology demonstrations will be performed during the missions to advance learning on xGEO operations.

Bill Weber, Firefly Aerospace CEO, pointed out that the company’s capabilities to cover vast regions with its spacecraft make Firefly ready to execute missions supporting space domain awareness and protecting America’s lunar assets

Jana Spruce, vice president of Firefly Aerospace’s spacecraft unit, said the Elytra enables the company to offer reliable and responsive access to the underserved xGEO region “critical to building a sustainable presence on the moon.”

The DIU disclosed that its Sinequone solicitation drew 112 solution briefs from 94 companies.

Besides the DIU project, Firefly’s recent contracts include the U.S. Space Force’s Victus Nox mission, which launched in September 2023 after just a 24-hour notice. 

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Category: Space

Tags: Bill Weber Defense Innovation Unit Elytra Firefly Aerospace geosynchronous orbit Jana Spruce Sinequone space