Author Topic: Firefly Aerospace  (Read 349017 times)

Offline Vultur

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Re: Firefly Aerospace
« Reply #920 on: 09/03/2022 10:13 pm »
There are a lot of small launcher companies, and with SpaceX rideshares, they probably can't all survive independently. Some of them being bought up by larger companies after proving themselves by reaching orbit seems plausible.

Offline ParabolicSnark

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Re: Firefly Aerospace
« Reply #921 on: 09/05/2022 04:50 pm »
If any of those companies demonstrate orbital capability, I'd expect the US government to step in and find a way to offer continued support to help keep the lights on. Having multiple launch options, regardless of cost, is beneficial for resilience for US space access. While SpaceX is remarkably successful, I'm sure they don't want to put all their eggs in the same basket, especially with a leader that's so...volatile.

Offline PM3

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Re: Firefly Aerospace
« Reply #922 on: 09/05/2022 05:09 pm »
If any of those companies demonstrate orbital capability, I'd expect the US government to step in and find a way to offer continued support to help keep the lights on. Having multiple launch options, regardless of cost, is beneficial for resilience for US space access. While SpaceX is remarkably successful, I'm sure they don't want to put all their eggs in the same basket, especially with a leader that's so...volatile.

Government has Pegasus, LauncherOne, Electron, several Minotaurs, Vulcan, and Neutron and New Glenn to come. Not enough redundancy?
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Offline TrevorMonty

Re: Firefly Aerospace
« Reply #923 on: 09/05/2022 06:55 pm »
Nothing in 1000-1500kg class but that will change in next few months.
« Last Edit: 09/05/2022 06:56 pm by TrevorMonty »

Offline Vultur

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Re: Firefly Aerospace
« Reply #924 on: 09/06/2022 10:33 pm »
If any of those companies demonstrate orbital capability, I'd expect the US government to step in and find a way to offer continued support to help keep the lights on. Having multiple launch options, regardless of cost, is beneficial for resilience for US space access. While SpaceX is remarkably successful, I'm sure they don't want to put all their eggs in the same basket, especially with a leader that's so...volatile.

Even with a high value placed on redundancy , IMO some consolidation is still very likely, especially for smaller launchers.

The current SpaceX near monopoly situation is due to the approaching retirement of Atlas/Delta and Vulcan not yet being operational. That's presumably short term.

But for small launchers... Astra, Rocket Lab, and Virgin Orbit have already reached orbit, Firefly and ABL are about to try.

Plus Pegasus as PM3 points out.

That's probably more than are viable long term. And being bought up doesn't necessarily mean the vehicle will disappear... Orbital already got bought up.

Offline su27k

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Re: Firefly Aerospace
« Reply #925 on: 09/07/2022 02:58 am »
Nothing in 1000-1500kg class but that will change in next few months.

Minotaurs can cover this range. Plus it makes zero sense to fund a dedicated LV for this range unless you have a lot of payload in this range that can't be economically launched on other LVs, that's not the case here. All the so called 1t smallsat launch companies are fanatically developing medium lift LVs, a sure sign that they think there's not enough business in this range.

Offline Zed_Noir

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Re: Firefly Aerospace
« Reply #926 on: 09/07/2022 04:27 am »
Nothing in 1000-1500kg class but that will change in next few months.

Minotaurs can cover this range. Plus it makes zero sense to fund a dedicated LV for this range unless you have a lot of payload in this range that can't be economically launched on other LVs, that's not the case here. All the so called 1t smallsat launch companies are fanatically developing medium lift LVs, a sure sign that they think there's not enough business in this range.
Will point out that only the Minotaur-C (ex Taurus XL) is available commercially at a high cost of $31k+ per kilogram lofted into orbit. Versus the SpaceX Raidshare price of $1k per kilogram to orbit, which remove many small & micro payloads from the manifests of small lift launch providers.

Offline trimeta

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Re: Firefly Aerospace
« Reply #927 on: 09/07/2022 02:22 pm »
All the so called 1t smallsat launch companies are fanatically developing medium lift LVs, a sure sign that they think there's not enough business in this range.

Is ABL developing a medium or heavy lift vehicle? Honestly, they probably should be, their strategy of "being the Astra of the 1-ton class" risks them going the same way as Astra itself. But they're very quiet about their plans...as befits a "new Astra." At least their ties to Lockheed Martin suggest a buyout option if things go poorly.

Re: Firefly Aerospace
« Reply #928 on: 09/07/2022 03:27 pm »
All the so called 1t smallsat launch companies are fanatically developing medium lift LVs, a sure sign that they think there's not enough business in this range.

Is ABL developing a medium or heavy lift vehicle? Honestly, they probably should be, their strategy of "being the Astra of the 1-ton class" risks them going the same way as Astra itself. But they're very quiet about their plans...as befits a "new Astra." At least their ties to Lockheed Martin suggest a buyout option if things go poorly.

Astra's problems, at the moment at least, have more to do with a series of very public failures than their core business strategy, so I don't think Astra's problems reflect badly on ABL.
« Last Edit: 09/07/2022 03:35 pm by JEF_300 »
Wait, ∆V? This site will accept the ∆ symbol? How many times have I written out the word "delta" for no reason?

Offline Vultur

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Re: Firefly Aerospace
« Reply #929 on: 09/07/2022 06:54 pm »
Nothing in 1000-1500kg class but that will change in next few months.

Minotaurs can cover this range. Plus it makes zero sense to fund a dedicated LV for this range unless you have a lot of payload in this range that can't be economically launched on other LVs, that's not the case here. All the so called 1t smallsat launch companies are fanatically developing medium lift LVs, a sure sign that they think there's not enough business in this range.
Will point out that only the Minotaur-C (ex Taurus XL) is available commercially at a high cost of $31k+ per kilogram lofted into orbit. Versus the SpaceX Raidshare price of $1k per kilogram to orbit, which remove many small & micro payloads from the manifests of small lift launch providers.

Yeah SpaceX rideshares are a big factor here.

There may well be reasons for dedicated smallsat launchers to exist despite cheap rideshares. Responsive launch maybe? But I think that's an argument for maybe 2 dedicated smallsat LVs to exist, not 5+.


Offline Steven Pietrobon

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Re: Firefly Aerospace
« Reply #930 on: 09/08/2022 07:47 am »
Will point out that only the Minotaur-C (ex Taurus XL) is available commercially at a high cost of $31k+ per kilogram lofted into orbit. Versus the SpaceX Raidshare price of $1k per kilogram to orbit, which remove many small & micro payloads from the manifests of small lift launch providers.

SpaceX charges $5.5k/kg.

https://www.spacex.com/rideshare/

"$1.1M for 200kg to SSO with additional mass at $5.5k/kg. Affordable rates also available to Mid-Inclination LEO, GTO, and TLI."
Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design #1:  Engineering is done with numbers.  Analysis without numbers is only an opinion.

Online FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Firefly Aerospace
« Reply #931 on: 09/09/2022 09:40 pm »
https://twitter.com/nasaprocurement/status/1568351098687070214

Quote
Kennedy Space Center has awarded the 'Venture-Class Acquisition of Dedicated and Rideshare (VADR) Launch Services' contract to Firefly Space Transport Services, LLC for $300,000,000. See: https://sam.gov/opp/650ce62b5ed0455398108cac1c0c2ddf/view

Offline ParabolicSnark

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Re: Firefly Aerospace
« Reply #932 on: 09/09/2022 11:50 pm »
Quote
Kennedy Space Center has awarded the 'Venture-Class Acquisition of Dedicated and Rideshare (VADR) Launch Services' contract to Firefly Space Transport Services, LLC for $300,000,000. See: https://sam.gov/opp/650ce62b5ed0455398108cac1c0c2ddf/view

To be clear, the contract for Firefly is not $300MM. The VADR contract is a fixed cost contract for $300MM across all launch providers over 5 years. NASA selected 12 companies to be part of that VADR contract back in January, and are now including Firefly in that list to make it 13.

https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/12-companies-to-provide-venture-class-launch-services-for-nasa

Offline AnalogMan

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Re: Firefly Aerospace
« Reply #933 on: 09/13/2022 11:00 pm »
NASA has posted the Firefly VADR contract award Justification for Other than Full and Open Competiton (JOFOC)

Notice of Intent to Sole Source
Notice ID:  80KSC022JOFOC01
Contract Award Date: Sep 09, 2022

https://sam.gov/opp/71bb3951c63f49b095f3bd3de9b5a340/view

Copy also attached

Offline ZachS09

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Re: Firefly Aerospace
« Reply #934 on: 09/13/2022 11:26 pm »
How much of a payload improvement would a tri-core Alpha have?

Since the regular Alpha carries 745 kg to sun-synchronous orbit, I'd guess this hypothetical variant (which I know won't ever be launched) would carry about 2.2 tons to SSO.
« Last Edit: 09/13/2022 11:35 pm by ZachS09 »
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Online oldAtlas_Eguy

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Re: Firefly Aerospace
« Reply #935 on: 09/13/2022 11:27 pm »
This contract allows NASA organizations determine if Firefly will work for their project or not at a cost/risk they accept. Which can be contracted through a contract mod vs a full contract. A contract mod can be accomplished in as little as 30 days or even less if the contractor responses are fast. Most of the haggling prior to the contract mod signing would be over when and what additional specific payload integration is needed to be accomplished by Firefly.

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: Firefly Aerospace
« Reply #936 on: 09/14/2022 12:30 am »
How much of a payload improvement would a tri-core Alpha have?

Since the regular Alpha carries 745 kg to sun-synchronous orbit, I'd guess this hypothetical variant (which I know won't ever be launched) would carry about 2.2 tons to SSO.
Was originally Beta design but now building something equivalent to Neutron.

Offline ZachS09

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Re: Firefly Aerospace
« Reply #937 on: 09/14/2022 12:40 am »
How much of a payload improvement would a tri-core Alpha have?

Since the regular Alpha carries 745 kg to sun-synchronous orbit, I'd guess this hypothetical variant (which I know won't ever be launched) would carry about 2.2 tons to SSO.
Was originally Beta design but now building something equivalent to Neutron.

The original Beta design had a larger second stage and PLF.

The concept I showed was a simple Alpha rocket with the only difference being two side boosters. The rest is unchanged.
« Last Edit: 09/14/2022 02:18 am by ZachS09 »
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Offline trimeta

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Re: Firefly Aerospace
« Reply #938 on: 09/14/2022 03:33 am »
NASA has posted the Firefly VADR contract award Justification for Other than Full and Open Competiton (JOFOC)

Notice of Intent to Sole Source
Notice ID:  80KSC022JOFOC01
Contract Award Date: Sep 09, 2022

https://sam.gov/opp/71bb3951c63f49b095f3bd3de9b5a340/view

Copy also attached

Hold on, that document says only one other VADR winner is in the 500-10000kg class. But both ABL and Relativity are part of VADR. So which isn't being counted, and why?

(This discussion may be better off in another thread, move/redirect as appropriate.)

Online FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Firefly Aerospace
« Reply #939 on: 09/14/2022 11:34 am »
Firefly VADR press release

https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20220913006331/en/NASA-Selects-Firefly-Space-Transport-Services-STS-as-a-Launch-Provider-for-Venture-Class-Acquisition-of-Dedicated-and-Rideshare-VADR-Missio

Quote
NASA Selects Firefly Space Transport Services (STS) as a Launch Provider for Venture-Class Acquisition of Dedicated and Rideshare (VADR) Missions
Contract awarded based on sole source request from NASA to satisfy the need for multiple spacecraft providers in the 500–1000 kg range

September 14, 2022 07:12 AM Eastern Daylight Time

CEDAR PARK, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Firefly Space Transport Services (STS), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Firefly Aerospace, Inc, announced today that the company has been selected by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to provide launch services for the agency’s Venture-Class Acquisition of Dedicated and Rideshare (VADR) missions in the 500-1000 kg grouping utilizing its Alpha rocket. The fixed-price indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract has a five-year ordering period with a maximum total value of $300 million across all contracts.

Quote
NASA noted that Firefly is the only launch vehicle provider in this grouping that has completed development and conducted its first test launch.

“This award is a pivotal step for Firefly to continue to work with NASA and build upon our existing VCLS and CLPS contracts and our partnership with Northrop Grumman to send cargo to the ISS,” said Firefly Aerospace’s CEO, Bill Weber.

Launch vehicle capabilities for the VADR contract are divided into three categories: below 500 kg, 500-1000 kg, and above 1000 kg, with a specification that there be multiple providers for each category. NASA/KSC (Kennedy Space Center) determined that there was only one provider for the 500-1000kg category currently on the VADR contract and posted an intent to enter sole source negotiation with Firefly to fulfill the multiple provider need. Further, NASA noted that Firefly is the only launch vehicle provider in this grouping that has completed development and conducted its first test launch.

“Firefly has had a long-standing relationship with NASA and is committed to providing NASA and other U.S. government entities with responsive, repeatable, reliable space transportation services,” stated Jason Mello, President, Firefly STS, LLC. “We are honored to be included in this award and to be one of two vehicles in this class to meet the NASA’s Launch Services Program demand for assured access to space.”

The VADR contract will provide a broad range of Federal Aviation Administration-licensed commercial launch services capable of delivering payloads ranging from CubeSats to Class D missions to a variety of orbits. These small satellites and Class D payloads tolerate relatively high risk and serve as an ideal platform for technical and architecture innovation, contributing to NASA’s science research and technology development.

Firefly’s Alpha Flight 2 mission is currently scheduled to launch from Vandenberg Space Force Base on September 19th. Firefly’s VADR award builds on their previous $9.8M award of the VCLS Demo 2, which is currently being prepared for integration and will be flown on their upcoming Alpha Flight 3 mission planned for later this year.

 

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