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Firefly Signs 10-Year Launch Services Contract with National Reconnaissance Office

By Mark Holmes | January 26, 2024
Firefly Aerospace Alpha launch vehicle on the pad. Photo: Firefly Aerospace

Firefly Aerospace Alpha launch vehicle on the pad. Photo: Firefly Aerospace

Firefly Aerospace has made a key breakthrough with the US Government. It has been selected by the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) to serve as a launch provider with Firefly’s Alpha rocket. As part of the NRO’s Streamlined Launch Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity Contract (SLIC), the agreement has a 10-year ordering period with a ceiling value of $700 million across all firm fixed-price task orders. Firefly announced the breakthrough with the NRO, Jan. 25.

As a SLIC provider, Firefly is able to compete for NRO launches with its Alpha rocket, capable of lifting more than 1,000 kg to LEO from the Vandenberg Space Force Base and the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. Firefly aims to minimize launch costs and increase reliability and responsiveness by utilizing robust in-house manufacturing capabilities, sharing components across its vehicles, and leveraging advanced technologies, such as carbon composite sandwich structures and patented tap-off cycle propulsion systems.

Firefly’s next Alpha launch for NASA is on track for early 2024. The company will also support a responsive on-orbit mission for the NRO onboard Firefly’s Elytra vehicle in 2024.

“Firefly is ready to support the NRO’s responsive space needs as we continue to advance our rapid launch operations capability. In order to support the increased demand for Alpha launches, we’ve doubled the size of our facilities, implemented automated carbon composite technologies, and fine-tuned our operations to rapidly produce, test, and launch in response to our customers’ urgent mission needs,” Bill Weber, CEO of Firefly Aerospace, said in a statement.