We can’t wait to see you at the #SXSW Trade Show, March 11-14! Find us at booth 405 and get a sneak peek of what we have been up to!
Firefly Alpha is designed to address the needs the burgeoning small-satellite market. Alpha combines the highest payload performance with the lowest cost per kilogram to orbit in its vehicle class. Capable of delivering 1 metric ton to Low Earth Orbit (LEO) and 600 kg to the highly desirable 500 KM Sun-Synchronous Orbit (SSO), Alpha will provide launch options for both full vehicle and ride share customers.Alpha will launch twice per month, a launch cadence that will enable customers to fly according to their schedule and to the orbit they desire.PERFORMANCEPayload LEO / 1,000 kg (LEO 28.5°, 200 km)Payload SSO / 600 kg (SSO, 500 km)PROPULSION: STAGE 1Engine / 4X Reaver 1Propellant / LOX / RP-1Propelleant Feed / TurbopumpCombustors / 4Thrust (vac) / 728.8 kN (163,841 lbf)lsp (vac) / 295.7 secondsPROPULSION: STAGE 2Engine / Lightning 1Propellant / LOX / RP-1Propelleant Feed / TurbopumpCombustors / 1Thrust (vac) / 69.9 kN (15,714 lbf)lsp (vac) / 324.1 secDIMENSIONSStage 1 Diameter / 1.8 m (6 ft)Stage 2 Diameter / 1.8 m (6 ft)Payload Fairing Diameter / 2 m (6.6 ft)Overall Length / 29 m (95 ft)
Alpha utilizes well established propulsion technology. Both stages use common designs: copper regen-cooled LOx/RP-1 thrust chambers, a simple tap-off cycle which drives single shaft turbopumps, nozzle-mounted turbine exhaust manifolds, and hydraulic actuators. Innovations in Firefly engines include our simple “Crossfire” injector, tap-off geometry, dual-mounted electrically actuated, trim-able propellant main valves, and ultra-compact horizontal turbopump mounting. The upper stage engine, “Lightning,” includes a turbine-exhaust cooled refractory metal high area ratio nozzle extension. The first stage “Reaver” engines feature simple single axis gimballing. Consistent with the overall Alpha vehicle design, cost and performance are traded and optimized in Lightning and Reaver components to provide the best payload performance value.
Firefly utilizes advanced carbon-fiber composites for the entire airframe of Alpha, including the state-of-the-art, linerless, cryogenic propellant tanks. Composite materials are ideally suited to launch vehicle structures due to their high strength, low density, tailorable material properties. This allows Firefly Alpha to lift heavier payloads than a similar metal rocket.
Firefly Avionics hardware utilizes a combination of custom designed state-of-the-art and Commercial Off the Shelf (COTS) components. Data Acquisition is accomplished using a rugged, modular Data Acquisition Chassis, which provides analog to digital conversion of all sensor data, and further packages the data and transmits to the Flight Computer via an onboard Ethernet network.The Flight Computer incorporates all vehicle telemetry and transmits data along with video to various Earth ground stations along the flight trajectory, for the duration of the flight.
Alpha will launch twice per month, a launch cadence that will enable customers to fly according to their schedule and to the orbit they desire.Firefly will provide a great customer experience from your initial contact with our business development team to working with your dedicated payload manager. As the program progresses the focus will switch to working with our experienced launch site operations team to support your spacecraft processing needs.Firefly launch sites will provide our customers with a wide range of orbit options to best fit their overall business objectives. Firefly launch site facilities support both dedicated launch vehicle customers and multiple manifest customers.
You beat me to it. I just got to this page in the new 2018 FAA Compendium.
4 engines is a strange choice, no? Increased probability of engine trouble without the benefit of redundancy/engine-out capability.
Engine redundancy is not really an option in this LV class or necessary.
Quote from: TrevorMonty on 02/11/2018 03:08 amEngine redundancy is not really an option in this LV class or necessary.The only operational smallsat launcher would beg to differ, with nine first stage engines
Quote from: su27k on 02/11/2018 02:17 am4 engines is a strange choice, no? Increased probability of engine trouble without the benefit of redundancy/engine-out capability.Shuttle had redundancy and engine-out capability with only 3 engines, so they would have some - just not to the extent that a 7+ engine design would.
Firefly's website has been updated with the new version of alpha;
Did they drop the idea of aerospike finally? And methane IIRC?
Quote from: Kosmos2001 on 02/11/2018 06:11 pmDid they drop the idea of aerospike finally? And methane IIRC?And pressure-fed engines. Basically everything that made the original Firefly Alpha really interesting to me. It seems pretty standard now. Well, a tap-off cycle with RP-1 is unusual. Has anyone tried that before?
I wish someone other than that Chinese firm would have the guts to just copy the Falcon 9 recovery method. These smallsat launchers, if they're flying more than a dozen times per year (let alone 24 like Firefly or 100 like RocketLab...), really ought to be at least partially reusable.
Quote from: Robotbeat on 02/12/2018 12:37 amI wish someone other than that Chinese firm would have the guts to just copy the Falcon 9 recovery method. These smallsat launchers, if they're flying more than a dozen times per year (let alone 24 like Firefly or 100 like RocketLab...), really ought to be at least partially reusable.They may not have hundreds of millions of dollars to spend on developing reuse right now.