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Firefly Aerospace Signs Launch Agreements with Spire, Geometric Space

By Jeffrey Hill | October 21, 2020

Firefly’s Alpha Rocket (courtesy of Firefly)

Launch and in-space service provider Firefly Aerospace was contracted by imagery and sensing satellite operator Spire Global to send multiple Lemur spacecraft into orbit on Firefly’s Alpha rocket spread out over multiple missions. Spire and Firefly have not publicly announced launch dates or disclosed the length of the contract. Firefly is targeting the inaugural flight of its new Alpha rocket, Alpha Flight 1, for later this year.

“The addition of Firefly Alpha to the Spire launch program further diversifies options to populate and replenish our world leading nanosatellite constellation,” Spire Senior Director of Constellation Planning and Operations Robert Sproles said in a statement.

Firefly will also launch a separate payload for Canadian space technology company Geometric Space Corporation. The terms of the contract and target launch date also were not disclosed. “With a 1,000 kg payload capacity to Low-Earth Orbit, Firefly Alpha provides a unique capability in the small launch vehicle market,” Geometric Space CEO Samuel Reid said in the announcement.

Firefly also confirmed that it successfully completed both a first stage engine test and a separation test on the Alpha Flight 1 rocket. The company said it performed a 35-second static fire, including a full suite of thrust vector control maneuvers. Subsequently, a 15-second final trim test was performed, and the stage will now ship to Firefly’s launch complex at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

The Alpha rocket is 95 feet tall with the capability to deliver 1 metric ton to LEO and 630 kilograms to Sun Synchronous Orbit (SSO).