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Firefly Aerospace Launches VICTUS NOX Mission for the Space Force with 24-Hour Notice

By Rachel Jewett | September 15, 2023
      Firefly Alpha VICTUS NOX Payload Deployment. Photo: Firefly Aerospace

      Firefly Alpha VICTUS NOX Payload Deployment. Photo: Firefly Aerospace

      Firefly Aerospace successfully launched the VICTUS NOX spacecraft in a special mission to demonstrate rapid launch capabilities to the U.S. Space Force

      Firefly Aerospace and spacecraft manufacturer Millennium Space Systems have been in a standby phase since late August, which was the start of a six-month launch window in which the Space Force could call up the mission at any time, with a 24-hour notice. 

      Upon receiving the notice to launch and orbit requirements, Firefly completed all final launch preparations, including trajectory software updates, payload encapsulation, transport to the launch pad, mating to Alpha, and fueling — all within 24 hours. The Alpha vehicle launched from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California in the first available window, 27 hours after the launch order came through. 

      The mission took off at 7:28 p.m. PDT on September 14. Firefly reported the Alpha vehicle successfully deployed the Millennium Space Systems satellite to Low-Earth Orbit (LEO). 

      “Today was an incredible success for the Space Force, the Firefly team, and our nation after nailing this complex responsive space mission,” said Bill Weber, CEO of Firefly Aerospace. “Our combined commercial and government team executed the mission with record speed, agility, and flexibility, adding a critical capability to address national security needs.”

      The mission was led by the Space Systems Command’s (SSC) Space Safari Program Office, in partnership with the Rocket Systems Launch Program. Firefly said it demonstrates the U.S. capability to launch quickly during a conflict or in response to a national security threat.