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Commercial and US Government Launch Vehicles => Commercial Space Flight General => Topic started by: ringsider on 07/10/2017 09:37 AM

Title: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: ringsider on 07/10/2017 09:37 AM
This is an apparent rebirth of an older company, "Firefly Space Systems". Discussion on that old (and now defunct) company was here: http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=33757 (topic now locked)

New company is Firefly Aerospace, with website at http://fireflyaerospace.com/

Creation Date: 2017-03-23

Only one link on the page:-

maito:[email protected]

Also the old www.fireflyspace.com website now has some references to the new corporate name.

Edit/Lar: crosslink and expand to more like a proper header.
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: MechE31 on 07/19/2017 11:35 AM
Aviation week put out a (paywalled) article on the re-emergence of Firefly Aerospace last week

http://aviationweek.com/awinspace/firefly-re-emerges-upgraded-alpha-rocket-design

Highlights:

Fully funded by high net worth individual
About 1 year behind original Firefly schedule (original launch of Q2 2018)
Upgraded performance
Switch to pump fed engine, not sure if it will be aerospike
Named Reaver
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: ringsider on 07/19/2017 01:32 PM
Aviation week put out a (paywalled) article on the re-emergence of Firefly Aerospace last week

http://aviationweek.com/awinspace/firefly-re-emerges-upgraded-alpha-rocket-design

Highlights:

Fully funded by high net worth individual
About 1 year behind original Firefly schedule (original launch of Q2 2018)
Upgraded performance
Switch to pump fed engine, not sure if it will be aerospike
Named Reaver

Well, they may be slightly ahead of Vector if they can salvage the burners.
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: TrevorMonty on 07/19/2017 03:27 PM


Aviation week put out a (paywalled) article on the re-emergence of Firefly Aerospace last week

http://aviationweek.com/awinspace/firefly-re-emerges-upgraded-alpha-rocket-design

Highlights:

Fully funded by high net worth individual


Another billionaire that wants to be millionaire.

Here is hoping they are successful this time round.

Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: ringsider on 07/29/2017 12:35 PM
www.fireflyaerospace.com now re-directs to the old Firefly website.

Looks like new jobs being posted.

http://www.fireflyspace.com/careers
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: starbase on 08/21/2017 08:44 PM
Firefly is hiring: https://twitter.com/Firefly_Space/status/899720938211733504
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: Andy Bandy on 08/21/2017 09:01 PM
Markusic is back at CEO. Appears to be following the Ukrainian billionaire Maxym Polyakov's business plan. Polyakov is head of EOS Launcher based out of Silicon Valley. Been working for a number of years with organizations in native Ukraine on launchers, satellites, etc. The billionaire picked up most of Firefly's assets when they were auctioned off. Also called in a $1 million note originally held by Space Florida.
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: TrevorMonty on 08/21/2017 10:53 PM
Is firefly owned and financed by Polyakov?.
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: Andy Bandy on 08/21/2017 10:58 PM
Is firefly owned and financed by Polyakov?.

Yes. EOS Launcher is his company. EOS Launcher is the one that scooped up most of Firefly's assets. I'm guessing given that Virgin Galactic sued Markusic over the aerospike engine the company is probably pursuing some other engine tech.
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: TrevorMonty on 08/23/2017 12:41 AM
Seems Firefly is fully owned and funded by Noosphere. A larger
1000kg Alpha is likely to better bet for smallsat constellations, especially as cubesat LV market is looking to be oversupplied in near future. 

http://www.thespacereview.com/article/3311/1

But one of those creditors, a fund called Noosphere Ventures, acquired the assets of Firefly when they want up for auction in the spring. “After they acquired the assets they started a new company, called Firefly Aerospace,” Markusic said. He was brought back to the company as its president.

The new Firefly is now wholly owned by Noosphere Ventures, which Markusic said had sufficient money to fund Firefly’s development without the need to go out and raise additional money. However, he didn’t rule out raising some outside funding for “capital efficiency” but added it wasn’t necessary for the company to develop the Alpha rocket.

Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: Prettz on 08/23/2017 01:21 AM
Noosphere? Must be a STALKER reference.
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 09/09/2017 05:10 AM
Salvaging spent GEO sats to use for Mars equipment supply, ok ...

Quote
Tom Markusic from @Firefly_Space presenting stratregy to get to Mars now @TheMarsSociety #Mars

https://twitter.com/arminellis/status/906257800623407104
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: HMXHMX on 09/10/2017 02:48 AM
Salvaging spent GEO sats to use for Mars equipment supply, ok ...

Quote
Tom Markusic from @Firefly_Space presenting stratregy to get to Mars now @TheMarsSociety #Mars

https://twitter.com/arminellis/status/906257800623407104

Say what?  :(  There are few things less useful for going to Mars than a spent GEO bird...

Also, from The Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies:  "Ownership of objects launched into outer space, including objects landed or constructed on a celestial body, and of their component parts, is not affected by their presence in outer space or on a celestial body or by their return to the earth. Such objects or component parts found beyond the limits of the State Party to the Treaty on whose registry they are carried shall be returned to that State Party, which shall, upon request, furnish identifying data prior to their return."

In other words, there is no salvage in space.  (You'd have to buy the hardware.)
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: Craftyatom on 09/10/2017 05:13 PM
Also, from The Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies:  "Ownership of objects launched into outer space, including objects landed or constructed on a celestial body, and of their component parts, is not affected by their presence in outer space or on a celestial body or by their return to the earth. Such objects or component parts found beyond the limits of the State Party to the Treaty on whose registry they are carried shall be returned to that State Party, which shall, upon request, furnish identifying data prior to their return."

In other words, there is no salvage in space.  (You'd have to buy the hardware.)
To be fair, I don't think the asking price for a passivated satellite in a graveyard orbit is very much at all.

Not that this sounds like I good idea to me, for a number of reasons, but you could probably gain access to the satellites pretty cheaply.  Might be more expensive to get the plans so that you could see where the useful parts are, and how to remove/use them.
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: fthomassy on 11/14/2017 12:12 AM
Tom Markusic spoke about his career and Firefly's resurrection at New Worlds 2017 (http://newworlds2017.org/agenda/) on 2017-11-11

Below are key points, not in order presented, and only as I recall them. Any characterization is my impression from how he described events rather than a quote. Tom's talk was in a space business track where he was illustrating the struggles faced. I am not a Journalist.

1. Alpha rocket back in development.
1a. Change to 1000[kg] to LEO
1b. Develop on known technologies (a.k.a. minimize research, focus on development)
1c. Four booster and one second stage engine (no truncated aerospike)

2. Loss of funding in 2017
2a. Spend was on order of $1M/week with cash on a knife edge
2b. Investor pulled back and could not secure follow on in time
2c. Lesson learned ... space is a long, hard, expensive road and you need your venture backed by a believer as much as an investor.

3. Resurrection in 2018
3a. Single investor bought it all in the auction and has the ability to fund to finish.
3b. Tom got the same crew back as much as he could.
3c. Team now around 100 and moving fast.
3d. Small group (about 10) working electric propulsion of next generation BEO.
3e. Illustrating their small advanced research effort Tom showed a "never seen before" image that looked like a concept delta wing SSTO with canard deploying a LEO payload. The real focus is on Alpha.
3f. He is amazed and grateful to be a rare example of a company rising from the ashes.

4. Career (actually the first thing covered)
4a. Collected degrees in Physics until he ran out of ones that suited him.
4b. Immersed in propulsion research with USAF and NASA.
4c. Time with SpaceX was energizing as he started of with F1. Elon Musk is truly committed to Mars so F1 was abandoned quickly.
4d. Time with Blue Origin was odd. Bezos is brilliant and engaged but has an odd notion that there should be a 'this strange thing called work life balance' ... I think Tom was half serious. Tom felt like he was an artifact in Bezos's rocket scientist collection so moved on.
4e. Branson is very distant form Virgin Galactic. The Virgin environment and mission did not suit him.
4f. Tom felt there was still a compelling business case for Falcon 1 class and felt ready to make his own vision a reality so started Firefly.

Another special note. Several engineers from Firefly were judges in the Cities in Space 2017 STEAMSpace (http://steamspaceeducation.org/student-competition/cities-in-space-2017/) competition.  An event held parallel to the first day of the professional symposium. Nice to see a commitment to the next generation of explorers!!
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: vaporcobra on 01/24/2018 07:43 PM
To quote myself,

Quote
Intriguing! @Firefly_Space has started a test livestream on YouTube, the first social media movement from the company in the better part of five months. Even more interesting, the stream's cover image shows a vac engine and an updated (?) aerospike design. Left: new, old: right. (https://twitter.com/13ericralph31/status/956264441472942080[quote)

Thoughts? Seems unlikely that Firefly is actually still pursuing an aerospike design after Markusic's very recent comments.
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: Steven Pietrobon on 01/25/2018 03:23 AM
Here's the Firefly stream.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mLKWepqdkRo
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: matthewkantar on 01/25/2018 04:01 AM
From the color image above, it looks like only one of the engines sown is gimbaled. Maybe the other actuators are not shown? Is it possible that only three or four engines are gimbaled?

Matthew
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: edzieba on 01/25/2018 12:32 PM
Is it possible that only three or four engines are gimbaled?
It's not an unreasonable design. As long as you can steer the exhaust stream you have control authority. Rockets have flown with solid motors steered using fluid injection into locations in the bell (e.g. Minuteman-II), this is not a dissimilar mechanism. Atlas also steered with a large fixed nozzle and completely separate small vernier engines (about 1.5% total thrust vs. 10% at a minimum for the Firefly array), and that wasn't even aided by plume interaction!
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: brickmack on 01/25/2018 02:52 PM
From the color image above, it looks like only one of the engines sown is gimbaled. Maybe the other actuators are not shown? Is it possible that only three or four engines are gimbaled?

Matthew

In the old design, that was the case. Note that there are struts on all the engines following the same path, but only 1 visible engine has actuators there instead of fixed struts, so its not merely an omission.

On the new design, I think the opposite is true. One engine has what looks to be a fixed-position strut, but the rest seem to have actuators (in a different location/direction, going down to the top of the spike)
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: vaporcobra on 02/09/2018 08:42 PM
Yayyyyy! Any NSFers planning on attending SXSW? :)

Quote
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!
https://twitter.com/Firefly_Space/status/962077237775249409
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: Kryten on 02/10/2018 08:23 PM
Firefly's website has been updated with the new version of alpha;
Quote
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.

PERFORMANCE
Payload LEO / 1,000 kg (LEO 28.5°, 200 km)
Payload SSO / 600 kg (SSO, 500 km)
PROPULSION: STAGE 1
Engine / 4X Reaver 1
Propellant / LOX / RP-1
Propelleant Feed / Turbopump
Combustors / 4
Thrust (vac) / 728.8 kN (163,841 lbf)
lsp (vac) / 295.7 seconds
PROPULSION: STAGE 2
Engine / Lightning 1
Propellant / LOX / RP-1
Propelleant Feed / Turbopump
Combustors / 1
Thrust (vac) / 69.9 kN (15,714 lbf)
lsp (vac) / 324.1 sec
DIMENSIONS
Stage 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)
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: vaporcobra on 02/10/2018 08:40 PM
Very curious, looks like the moved entirely away from FRE-1 and FRE-2, although there might still be some heritage in Lightning and Reaver. Very much a different vehicle from alpha, as far as I can tell.
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: gongora on 02/10/2018 08:46 PM
You beat me to it.  I just got to this page in the new 2018 FAA Compendium.
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: vaporcobra on 02/10/2018 08:54 PM
Additional, a couple more details on their new R&D.

Propulsion
Quote
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.

Structures
Quote
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.

Avionics
Quote
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.

Launch
Quote
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.
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: su27k on 02/11/2018 02:17 AM
4 engines is a strange choice, no? Increased probability of engine trouble without the benefit of redundancy/engine-out capability.
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: Patchouli on 02/11/2018 02:33 AM
You beat me to it.  I just got to this page in the new 2018 FAA Compendium.

I wonder if they're feeding the turbopump exhaust into the nozzle to help get away with a larger expansion ratio nozzle?
Another interesting note it's almost large enough to launch a Mercury style capsule.
Though if built with modern materials something like Mercury probably would be under 1000Kg.
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: envy887 on 02/11/2018 03:00 AM
4 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.
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: TrevorMonty on 02/11/2018 03:08 AM
Engine redundancy is not really an option in this LV class or necessary.
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: vaporcobra on 02/11/2018 05:31 AM
Engine 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 :P
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: ringsider on 02/11/2018 06:51 AM
Engine 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 :P

I am not sure this launcher concept is in the same class as Electron with 150kg payload - 1000kg makes it a competitor to Vega (1500kg).
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: su27k on 02/11/2018 08:30 AM
4 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.

But Shuttle stack has more than 3 engines, they have 2 big SRBs helping the liftoff. At liftoff each SSME only contributes 1/17 of the total thrust.
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: Kosmos2001 on 02/11/2018 06:11 PM
Did they drop the idea of aerospike finally? And methane IIRC?

Edit:

Firefly's website has been updated with the new version of alpha;

It is interesting how they did round to the first decimal when they wrote the value of Isp. I'd bet that their Isp in m/s for the first stage is 2900 and 3178 for the second one.
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: Prettz on 02/11/2018 09:58 PM
Did 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?
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: HMXHMX on 02/11/2018 10:57 PM
Did 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?

My guys tried making it work for a client but went back to a conventional GG.  I have no doubt it can be done but am not sure it is worth the effort, especially when you need to throttle.  My experience is that you want to decouple engine components from one another to keep development cost and risk under control, not tie them together more tightly. 
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: Robotbeat on 02/12/2018 12:37 AM
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.
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: msat on 02/12/2018 01:10 AM
RL might not be expending any resources at this time on reuse (I don't know if this is actually true), but I would not at all be surprised  if that changed down the road. Since they tend to keep their cards close to their chest, they at least give the [refreshing] outwards appearance of being laser focused. Despite having successfully launched a payload into its planned orbit, formidable challenges still lay ahead just to attain their stated goals. Reusability might very well come later just as it did for SpaceX. And while SpaceX may have stated publicly that was always their intent, it may have quietly been RL's as well, and even if it wasn't, it doesn't mean they could never have a change of heart. Time will tell if this holds true for Firefly too.
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: gongora on 02/12/2018 01:21 AM
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.

They may not have hundreds of millions of dollars to spend on developing reuse right now.
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: Robotbeat on 02/12/2018 01:40 AM
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.

They may not have hundreds of millions of dollars to spend on developing reuse right now.
...and that's why you essentially copy SpaceX instead of trying to do something else clever. And also: don't need that much to do what Masten and that Chinese company are doing. But I'm satisfied to know that Firefly at least paid lip service to reuse in the past.
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: Patchouli on 02/12/2018 01:47 AM
Did 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?

The only tap-off cycle engines I know of or the J-2S and BE-3 both which burn hydrogen.
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: su27k on 02/12/2018 04:39 AM
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.

Orbit first then reuse works, there's existence proof of that. Nobody has made the reverse work yet, Blue Origin could demonstrate it but Blue is hardly your average space company.
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: ringsider on 02/12/2018 06:48 AM
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.

They may not have hundreds of millions of dollars to spend on developing reuse right now.
...and that's why you essentially copy SpaceX instead of trying to do something else clever. And also: don't need that much to do what Masten and that Chinese company are doing. But I'm satisfied to know that Firefly at least paid lip service to reuse in the past.
The Spacex method won't work for small launchers if they want to stay small. The extra mass of the landing fuel, attitude system, hydraulic landing legs and titanium grid fins almost certainly makes it unworkable, because they will add much more mass than the 100-200kg  payload that these guys are trying to carry. Unless you build a much bigger vehicle for the same payload, it is unworkable - and the costs of a bigger vehicle probably make it uneconomic to build just to recover. I'm guessing, but that seems like a circular challenge.

That's why some of the images from the Spanish startup PLD Space on here a couple of days ago with grid fins and legs etc on a small launcher are more like science fiction, and that's probably why Rocket Lab isn't yet focussed on it.

Also the cost of recovery at sea in the same way as used by OCISLY in that class is probably more than the cost of building a new one, because ships, people etc have a fixed cost regardless of the size of the launcher, and become a much bigger fraction of the entire operational cost than they are of Spacex's operation.
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: Nomic on 02/12/2018 08:31 AM
Tap off kerlox/storeable prop engines have been talked about right back to WWII, despite the claimed advantages of simplification, nobody has actually built one. On the J2S, extra hydrogen was sprayed into the tapoff ports to reduce the TIT, guess they must be doing something similar using extra RP1. Cant see a turbopump on the photo of the engine on the test stand, wonder if they are just testing the thrust chamber?
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: chipguy on 02/12/2018 05:10 PM
On the J2S, extra hydrogen was sprayed into the tapoff ports to reduce the TIT

Temperature at Input to Turbine?
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: e of pi on 02/12/2018 05:29 PM
Temperature at Input to Turbine?
You've got the right idea, but it's actually "Turbine Inlet Temperature".
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: chipguy on 02/12/2018 05:53 PM
Temperature at Input to Turbine?
You've got the right idea, but it's actually "Turbine Inlet Temperature".

Thanks. I really didn't want to do an internet search.
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: hkultala on 02/13/2018 09:43 PM
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.

They may not have hundreds of millions of dollars to spend on developing reuse right now.
...and that's why you essentially copy SpaceX instead of trying to do something else clever. And also: don't need that much to do what Masten and that Chinese company are doing. But I'm satisfied to know that Firefly at least paid lip service to reuse in the past.
The Spacex method won't work for small launchers if they want to stay small. The extra mass of the landing fuel
propotional to the dry mass of the vehicle
Quote
, attitude system

do you mean the cold gas thrusters?

Quote
, hydraulic landing legs and titanium grid fins

Also propotional to the dry mass of the vehicle?

Quote
almost certainly makes it unworkable, because they will add much more mass than the 100-200kg  payload that these guys are trying to carry.

Those components are first stage mass, not upper stage mass. It's not going to orbit, it does not decrease payload by the same amount.

The ratio of penalty from first stage mass to orbit is in the range of 5:1, depending on when the staging occurs.

Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: JEF_300 on 02/16/2018 03:15 PM
So my overall assessment of this new Alpha is... different.

To be clear, thats not a bad thing. In fact, I'm quite excited to hear why they made these decisions.

The only other rocket I can think of with 4 first stage engines is the one South Korea is working on, so that alone is strange. But that number along with the different second stage engine seems especially weird today, with the market's current trend being "copy SpaceX" and use a lot of small engines on the first stage and the same engine vacuum-optimized for the second stage. Even Firefly were originally going to do this.

4 engines also ignores the more traditional approach of one big first stage engine.

Also, it seems strange to make a separate second stage engine and still use Kerolox for it.

Even the payload range is unique. They will be the first to go after the one-ton payload range.

The whole design ignores all current trends in the market, which is probably a good thing, because the SmallSat launch market is going to be quite crowded quite soon. I'm curious to see where this goes.
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: Craftyatom on 02/16/2018 05:41 PM
Even the payload range is unique. They will be the first to go after the one-ton payload range.
Reminds me of that quote from a GLXP planner, about how when they started the prize, F1 and Dnepr were both flying 1/2- to 3-ton missions for cheap, but both retired before anyone got a chance to use them for anything lunar.  This would be in the same class as those two, which certainly sounds like a market with some growth potential.
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: TrevorMonty on 02/16/2018 07:10 PM
1000kg market is perfect for smallsat LEO constellations, which is new emerging market. Those same engines can be used for follow on x9 engine RLV with payload of around 1500kg.

Title: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: Lars-J on 02/17/2018 12:38 AM
1000kg market is perfect for smallsat LEO constellations, which is new emerging market. Those same engines can be used for follow on x9 engine RLV with payload of around 1500kg.

It may be perfect for smallsat LEO constellation *satellites* - but not for constellations - because I see no way that they have (or will have) enough volume capacity for the number of launches needed to launch and maintain a constellation.

The idea that any of these smallsat operators will launch 100s of times per year is fantasy. IMO.

So there may be a smallsat demand they can fill - but I think constellations are going to go elsewhere to larger operators who can handle the volume.
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: Robotbeat on 02/17/2018 02:35 AM
Lars-J:
Pegasus was used for launching a LEO smallsat constellation, and it has a fairing about 1m wide by 2m long. Firefly has a much larger fairing (2m and 4m, respectively, so like an order of magnitude more volume and only about twice the payload to orbit: 443kg for Pegasus XL and 1000kg for Firefly). Plenty of volume if your smallsats are designed right. The cubesat form factor, especially, is efficient for this. Planet current uses the cubesat form factor for their Doves. Cubesats have slightly greater density than water.

The fairing is 2m in diameter and has a roughly 4m usuable height. That's about 12 cubic meters, call it 10 cubic meters. At the density of cubesats, that's 10 tons (well, up to 14 tons), an order of magnitude greater payload than it actually can do. So I'd argue it's much more mass constrained than volume constrained.

I'm pretty sure Alpha could launch all of Planet Lab's cubesat constellation that is in orbit right now. And should be able to do like 5 OneWeb satellites per launch, too.


1 ton to orbit is actually a much better business proposition than the 100kg launchers, IMHO.
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: Robotbeat on 02/17/2018 03:09 AM
And Skysats (the big brother of the 3U cubesat Doves) are 60cmx60cmx80cm and weigh 83-100kg. If packed carefully, Alpha should still be mass-limited, not volume-limited. Could launch like 10 or 12 Skysats, nearly the whole constellation.

...and as someone who uses planet.com I have kind of become addicted to Skysat’s much superior 0.9m resolution (just 3m for the Doves). 0.9m let’s you actually see more than just blobs.
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: Robotbeat on 02/17/2018 03:43 AM
Just noticed, but the other image (of the whole Alpha rocket) seems to show an odd number of engines, like 5 engines:
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: Lars-J on 02/17/2018 04:25 AM
Robotbeat, I was responding to a post about 1t satellites. Far different than the cubesats (and larger) you mention. And I think that we are using the word "constellation" to mean different things. No one is in the near future going to fly constellations of cubesats. No, I mean constellations of larger sats in the 0.5-1t range, and thousands of them.
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: Robotbeat on 02/17/2018 04:50 AM
Most such constellations are dozens or hundreds. Originally, only SpaceX was crazy enough to propose a megaconstellation of thousands. And they’re much smaller than 1 ton, even for SpaceX. As I wrote, even the Oneweb satellites could be launched five at a time in the Alpha.
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: Robotbeat on 02/17/2018 05:00 AM
LarsJ: you were responding to this, which did NOT specify 1 ton satellites (you misinterpreted it) nor thousands of them.
1000kg market is perfect for smallsat LEO constellations, which is new emerging market. Those same engines can be used for follow on x9 engine RLV with payload of around 1500kg.

Most LEO constellations propose fairly small satellites such that you could launch several at once even with just the Alpha. Here’s a list (also counts MEO, which isn’t relevant here):
There was a wave of FCC filings November 15.

Audacy: 3 MEO relays to communicate with LEO spacecraft.
SATLOA2016111500117 (http://licensing.fcc.gov/cgi-bin/ws.exe/prod/ib/forms/reports/swr031b.hts?q_set=V_SITE_ANTENNA_FREQ.file_numberC/File+Number/%3D/SATLOA2016111500117&prepare=&column=V_SITE_ANTENNA_FREQ.file_numberC/File+Number)

Karousel: 12 IGSO satelllites for video
SATLOA2016111500113 (http://licensing.fcc.gov/cgi-bin/ws.exe/prod/ib/forms/reports/swr031b.hts?q_set=V_SITE_ANTENNA_FREQ.file_numberC/File+Number/%3D/SATLOA2016111500113&prepare=&column=V_SITE_ANTENNA_FREQ.file_numberC/File+Number)

Kepler MULTUS: 2-140 LEO nanosats for M2M communication
SATLOI2016111500114 (http://licensing.fcc.gov/cgi-bin/ws.exe/prod/ib/forms/reports/swr031b.hts?q_set=V_SITE_ANTENNA_FREQ.file_numberC/File+Number/%3D/SATLOI2016111500114&prepare=&column=V_SITE_ANTENNA_FREQ.file_numberC/File+Number)

LeoSat: 78 LEO satellites
SATLOI2016111500112 (http://licensing.fcc.gov/cgi-bin/ws.exe/prod/ib/forms/reports/swr031b.hts?q_set=V_SITE_ANTENNA_FREQ.file_numberC/File+Number/%3D/SATLOI2016111500112&prepare=&column=V_SITE_ANTENNA_FREQ.file_numberC/File+Number)

O3b: Amendment to add another 40 satellites
SATAMD2016111500116 (http://licensing.fcc.gov/cgi-bin/ws.exe/prod/ib/forms/reports/swr031b.hts?q_set=V_SITE_ANTENNA_FREQ.file_numberC/File+Number/%3D/SATAMD2016111500116&prepare=&column=V_SITE_ANTENNA_FREQ.file_numberC/File+Number)

SpaceX: has its own thread
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=41634.0
SATLOA2016111500118 (http://licensing.fcc.gov/cgi-bin/ws.exe/prod/ib/forms/reports/swr031b.hts?q_set=V_SITE_ANTENNA_FREQ.file_numberC/File+Number/%3D/SATLOA2016111500118&prepare=&column=V_SITE_ANTENNA_FREQ.file_numberC/File+Number)

Space Norway: 2 satellites in high-inclination 16-hour orbit
SATLOI2016111500111 (http://licensing.fcc.gov/cgi-bin/ws.exe/prod/ib/forms/reports/swr031b.hts?q_set=V_SITE_ANTENNA_FREQ.file_numberC/File+Number/%3D/SATLOI2016111500111&prepare=&column=V_SITE_ANTENNA_FREQ.file_numberC/File+Number)

Telesat Canada: 117 in LEO
SATLOI2016111500108 (http://licensing.fcc.gov/cgi-bin/ws.exe/prod/ib/forms/reports/swr031b.hts?q_set=V_SITE_ANTENNA_FREQ.file_numberC/File+Number/%3D/SATLOI2016111500108&prepare=&column=V_SITE_ANTENNA_FREQ.file_numberC/File+Number)

Boeing: 60 IGSO (this is separate from the smallsat filing they also have)
SATLOA2016111500109 (http://licensing.fcc.gov/cgi-bin/ws.exe/prod/ib/forms/reports/swr031b.hts?q_set=V_SITE_ANTENNA_FREQ.file_numberC/File+Number/%3D/SATLOA2016111500109&prepare=&column=V_SITE_ANTENNA_FREQ.file_numberC/File+Number)

Theia: 112 for remote sensing
SATLOA2016111500121 (http://licensing.fcc.gov/cgi-bin/ws.exe/prod/ib/forms/reports/swr031b.hts?q_set=V_SITE_ANTENNA_FREQ.file_numberC/File+Number/%3D/SATLOA2016111500121&prepare=&column=V_SITE_ANTENNA_FREQ.file_numberC/File+Number)

Viasat: 24 in polar MEO
SATLOI2016111500120 (http://licensing.fcc.gov/cgi-bin/ws.exe/prod/ib/forms/reports/swr031b.hts?q_set=V_SITE_ANTENNA_FREQ.file_numberC/File+Number/%3D/SATLOI2016111500120&prepare=&column=V_SITE_ANTENNA_FREQ.file_numberC/File+Number)
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: TrevorMonty on 02/17/2018 01:27 PM
For likes of SpaceX 4000 smallsats, large LV like F9 is only way to go for initial placement. Small LVs are better for urgent service replacements in these cases.

As Robot pointed out there are lots little constellations containing anyway from 2-50 smallsats in 100kg range that need deployment to specific orbits. These prefer LVs in 200-1000kg range.

Alpha will compete directly with PSLV, Vega and LauncherOne for smallsats. Electron is slight different market, 1-3 smallsats and cubesat deployment.

With addition of 3rd stage Apha could open up dedicated launch to BLEO for smallsats. 
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: JEF_300 on 02/21/2018 04:40 PM
Just noticed, but the other image (of the whole Alpha rocket) seems to show an odd number of engines, like 5 engines:

It's just viewing the four engines from a corner instead of a side
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: JEF_300 on 02/22/2018 07:27 PM
I just realized that there is an operational and flying launcher in this range.

Minotaur IV will do 1.5 tons to LEO.
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: Zed_Noir on 02/22/2018 08:56 PM
I just realized that there is an operational and flying launcher in this range.

Minotaur IV will do 1.5 tons to LEO.

Restricted launcher. Not too sure you can offer the Minotaur for non-US government missions, since the Minotaur components are mainly from old USAF ICBMs.
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: Kryten on 02/22/2018 09:48 PM
Restricted launcher. Not too sure you can offer the Minotaur for non-US government missions, since the Minotaur components are mainly from old USAF ICBMs.
You legally can't, but Minotaur-C is unrestricted and in roughly the same size class.
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: ringsider on 02/25/2018 08:12 AM
Interesting article about Max Polyakov:

http://micetimes.asia/max-polyakov-firefly-aerospace-not-flyable/ (http://micetimes.asia/max-polyakov-firefly-aerospace-not-flyable/)

I had no idea about his background.
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: Markstark on 02/25/2018 07:08 PM
Interesting article about Max Polyakov:

http://micetimes.asia/max-polyakov-firefly-aerospace-not-flyable/ (http://micetimes.asia/max-polyakov-firefly-aerospace-not-flyable/)

I had no idea about his background.

Difficult but interesting read.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: gongora on 02/25/2018 09:40 PM
Restricted launcher. Not too sure you can offer the Minotaur for non-US government missions, since the Minotaur components are mainly from old USAF ICBMs.
You legally can't, but Minotaur-C is unrestricted and in roughly the same size class.

and about 4 times the price that Firefly is aiming for.
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 03/12/2018 05:42 PM
Quote
Markusic: plan to do two launches next year, eight in 2020. Need to do four a year to break even. #SatShow

https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/973259060442050560
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: fthomassy on 03/12/2018 05:48 PM
Quote
Want to win a spot on the Firefly bus? The bus will tour our corporate headquarters in Cedar Park and then head out to watch us test the new Lightning engine in person! Stop by booth 405 at the Austin Convention Center to complete an entry form.
https://twitter.com/Firefly_Space/status/973263028111147010 (https://twitter.com/Firefly_Space/status/973263028111147010)
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: fthomassy on 03/12/2018 05:50 PM
There are pictures out there of the Firefly booth at SXSW but I don't know if it is appropriate to post pics from LinkedIn. Super cool static display of engine, combustion chamber and Alpha model.

Anyone know the right way to post/link that stuff here?
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: Lars-J on 03/13/2018 01:21 AM
So who revived Firefly? And how many of the past employees did the bring back?
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: Lars-J on 03/13/2018 01:25 AM
There are pictures out there of the Firefly booth at SXSW but I don't know if it is appropriate to post pics from LinkedIn. Super cool static display of engine, combustion chamber and Alpha model.

Anyone know the right way to post/link that stuff here?

As long as it is placed in a publicly accessible page, I see no problem with attaching a copy *and* linking to such a page. (Just like the policy of quoting/linking pics from twitter)

But I’m not a lawyer.
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: fthomassy on 03/13/2018 03:36 AM
I think this link is public but my LinkedIn app loads automatically. Just let me know if this fails.
https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6378660087690600448 (https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6378660087690600448)
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: fthomassy on 03/13/2018 03:51 AM
And another ...
https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6378658161246691328 (https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6378658161246691328)
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: deptrai on 03/13/2018 02:00 PM
https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6378660087690600448 (https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6378660087690600448)
What are we looking at?  1st stage Reaver or 2nd stage Lightning engine?
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: Davidthefat on 03/13/2018 02:03 PM
https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6378660087690600448 (https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6378660087690600448)
What are we looking at?  1st stage Reaver or 2nd stage Lightning engine?


Nozzle extension makes me think Lightening. Or could it have been the old FRE?
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: msat on 03/13/2018 04:19 PM
https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6378660087690600448 (https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6378660087690600448)
What are we looking at?  1st stage Reaver or 2nd stage Lightning engine?

Just below the throat on the divergent section has the word "LIGHTNING" printed on it.
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: Markstark on 03/13/2018 06:01 PM
That looks awesome


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: Davidthefat on 03/13/2018 06:09 PM
Also, surely the CFRP extension is just for show?
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: matthewkantar on 03/13/2018 06:18 PM
Also, surely the CFRP extension is just for show?

Carbon composite nozzle is puzzling. Why would they waste materials and time to manufacture a dummy? Could this contain a metal cooling jacket and inner shell? Appears to be a regen cooling set up, would rule out ablatives, no?

Matthew
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: Gliderflyer on 03/14/2018 01:09 AM
Also, surely the CFRP extension is just for show?

Carbon composite nozzle is puzzling. Why would they waste materials and time to manufacture a dummy? Could this contain a metal cooling jacket and inner shell? Appears to be a regen cooling set up, would rule out ablatives, no?

Matthew
I'm guessing that this particular engine is just for show. In this image on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/fireflyspace/photos/a.740332169390499.1073741829.565374443552940/1609798732443834/) (attached) the inside of the chamber is silver instead the normal orange copper color. Based on this, I would guess that it is (mostly) an aluminum or stainless mock up for display purposes (it is also missing the normal rats-nest of sensor and control wiring). This would make sense as there is a lot less risk in bringing a display engine to a conference compared to bringing a flight engine that could be on a test stand making money. I would guess that the flight engine would be a regen cooled nickle-plated closeout chamber, with a carbon-carbon nozzle extension.
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: Katana on 03/14/2018 03:21 AM
Also, surely the CFRP extension is just for show?

Carbon composite nozzle is puzzling. Why would they waste materials and time to manufacture a dummy? Could this contain a metal cooling jacket and inner shell? Appears to be a regen cooling set up, would rule out ablatives, no?

Matthew
Looks like turbine exhaust film cooling, CFRP ablative extension with turbine exhaust film cooling is OK.

What's on the top of main chamber injector? Servo system for adjustable pintle injector?
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: fthomassy on 03/16/2018 01:43 AM
Attended Firefly re-launch party for employee friends and family. Here are some close ups of the Lightening 80X (2nd stage static display that was a SXSW.
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: fthomassy on 03/16/2018 01:55 PM
Took this video last night. 300-sec burn of Lightening, according to CEO, is twice as long as any test to date. Perhaps Firefly will post better quality soon.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eoaUnilrKNI (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eoaUnilrKNI)
Edit: YouTube link added
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: Cinder on 03/16/2018 03:06 PM
Would it be wrong to upload that video to youtube?
edit- thanks!  Was going to do it if you hadn't yet.
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: Davidthefat on 03/16/2018 04:23 PM
You'd expect welds for a show piece to be at least electrochem cleaned or something. Anyways. The pictures posted by fthomassy are really telling of their engine propellant flow. Looks like from top to bottom, LOX inlet, LOX outlet, purge seal + bearing housing, RP outlet, RP inlet manifold, purge seal(?) + bearing, turbine inlet manifold (from the thrust chamber, which isn't connected), turbine outlet manifold to be routed to divergent section of the nozzle.

Despite it being a show piece, are the pictures posted here appropriate in terms of IP?
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: fthomassy on 03/16/2018 04:28 PM
You'd expect welds for a show piece to be at least electrochem cleaned or something. Anyways. The pictures posted by fthomassy are really telling of their engine propellant flow. Looks like from top to bottom, LOX inlet, LOX outlet, purge seal + bearing housing, RP outlet, RP inlet manifold, purge seal(?) + bearing, turbine inlet manifold (from the thrust chamber, which isn't connected), turbine outlet manifold to be routed to divergent section of the nozzle.

Despite it being a show piece, are the pictures posted here appropriate in terms of IP?
LOX and RP1 lines are fully connected. The He purge/start line is not connected.

Edit: Regarding IP. Are you questioning Firefly’s intelligence or my judgement? If the latter I can only say I was told photos of SXSW displays were okay.
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: deptrai on 03/16/2018 05:51 PM
That nozzle extension looks to have a metallic  liner with some non-metallic outside surface.  Could you tell in person?

Their website says: The upper stage engine, “Lightning,” includes a turbine-exhaust cooled refractory metal high area ratio nozzle extension.

I expected the nozzle extension to be a niobium alloy like the Falcon 9. 
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: fthomassy on 03/16/2018 06:19 PM
That nozzle extension looks to have a metallic  liner with some non-metallic outside surface.  Could you tell in person?
There were no parts that appeared to have liners. Perhaps I'm not following you but the bell was composite inside and out. Zoom in on the last picture. In the rather poor contrast (sorry about that) you can see a ring that seems to be the exit from turbine exhaust ring into the bell.
Quote
Their website says: The upper stage engine, “Lightning,” includes a turbine-exhaust cooled refractory metal high area ratio nozzle extension.

I expected the nozzle extension to be a niobium alloy like the Falcon 9.
Your guess is probably better than mine. Composite for show ... metal for real?
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: vaporcobra on 03/17/2018 12:01 AM
Firefly will be posting regular updates to their blog from now on. http://www.fireflyspace.com/newblog

First new blog is from Markusic :)
Quote
On Thursday, March 15, 2018 we performed a long duration hotfire test of the “Lightning” thrust chamber assembly. The test duration was 296 seconds, which is twice as long as any engine test previously run at Firefly. Analysis of data and post-test inspection of hardware revealed no anomalies. A crowd of three hundred Firefly friends and family were on hand to witness this milestone.

Dr. Tom’s Firefly Blog Reignition - March 14th, 2018
We will begin using this blog to regularly report corporate and technical progress at Firefly. Here is a quick catch-up of where we stand today:

-We are focused on development of the Alpha Vehicle, which is designed to deliver one metric ton to LEO. We are engaged in developmental design, production and testing of Alpha components.
-We will soon be integrating these components into full stages and performing integrated stage tests on our new vertical test stand (Test Stand 2 (TS-2)).
-We intend to perform our first orbital flight during the third quarter of 2019.
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: JEF_300 on 03/19/2018 01:47 PM
First new blog is from Markusic :)
Quote
-We intend to perform our first orbital flight during the third quarter of 2019.

Wow, that was unexpected. All they have to do is complete a brand new launch vehicle in a year and a half! Still, considering they have already begun duration engine tests, it seems like a somewhat reasonable timetable.
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: fthomassy on 03/20/2018 12:42 PM
Latest blog (http://www.fireflyspace.com/newblog/alpha-payload-user-s-guide).
Quote
Alpha Payload User's Guide
March 19th, 2018

Today we have released the Alpha Payload User’s Guide, available on our downloads page. This document provides customers with details on vehicle performance and interface information.
User guide attached. Enjoy! :)
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: CameronD on 03/21/2018 12:12 AM
Latest blog (http://www.fireflyspace.com/newblog/alpha-payload-user-s-guide).
Quote
Alpha Payload User's Guide
March 19th, 2018

Today we have released the Alpha Payload User’s Guide, available on our downloads page. This document provides customers with details on vehicle performance and interface information.
User guide attached. Enjoy! :)

Interesting!  Has it been confirmed yet where they will be launching from??

Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: fthomassy on 03/21/2018 01:33 PM
User guide attached. Enjoy! :)
Interesting!  Has it been confirmed yet where they will be launching from??
Not confirmed by their own admission in section 6.3 of the user guide.
Quote
Firefly is currently in the process of securing a site at Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB), as this location
is expected to support the initial test flights of Alpha and a substantial number of future Customers;
This process is currently underway with documentation submitted to Air Force Space Command and
VAFB 30th Space Wing. Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB) is the launch site considered to be Firefly’s
Primary domestic site.
So VAFB is the plan but no site confirmed.
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 03/26/2018 10:04 PM
Quote
Staring at Firefly Aerospace’s hot rocket-engine flames in a Texas pasture
“Hopefully you’ll be able to look back and say, ‘Hey, I knew those guys when they were nobody.’”

by Nathan Mattise - Mar 17, 2018 5:30pm GMT

CEDAR PARK, Texas—"Last time you came out here, it was just a pile of dirt," Firefly Aerospace CEO and rocket scientist Tom Markusic tells me. I looked it up afterwards—he's not lying.

https://arstechnica.com/science/2018/03/staring-at-firefly-aerospaces-hot-rocket-engine-flames-in-a-texas-pasture/
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: ringsider on 03/27/2018 06:15 AM
Really nice article, some great background images.

June 2019 launch (15 months...) seems optimistic but actually they might just do it.
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: fthomassy on 03/30/2018 03:14 PM
A new blog post is up.
http://www.fireflyspace.com/newblog/riding-carbon-water-balloons-to-space (http://www.fireflyspace.com/newblog/riding-carbon-water-balloons-to-space)

Interesting last line in the post (bold mine) ...
Quote
...  The second picture above shows Firefly composite production technicians fabricating the domes of the tanks that will be used on our first fully integrated stage tests in June 2018.
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: john smith 19 on 04/02/2018 07:47 AM
Latest blog (http://www.fireflyspace.com/newblog/alpha-payload-user-s-guide).
Quote
Alpha Payload User's Guide
March 19th, 2018

Today we have released the Alpha Payload User’s Guide, available on our downloads page. This document provides customers with details on vehicle performance and interface information.
User guide attached. Enjoy! :)
Note. On launch Alpha's tank width will make it the SoA with regard to flight weight main CFRP tanks, beyond Rocket Labs tanks.
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: Robotbeat on 04/02/2018 01:43 PM
Latest blog (http://www.fireflyspace.com/newblog/alpha-payload-user-s-guide).
Quote
Alpha Payload User's Guide
March 19th, 2018

Today we have released the Alpha Payload User’s Guide, available on our downloads page. This document provides customers with details on vehicle performance and interface information.
User guide attached. Enjoy! :)
Note. On launch Alpha's tank width will make it the SoA with regard to flight weight main CFRP tanks, beyond Rocket Labs tanks.
Only on launch. The 5.5m carbon fiber SLS tank demo (by NASA, Boeing, and Janicki) put a far larger tank through a full range of cryogenic and load testing. As far as full test suites go, that SLS tank demo still wins.

And in some ways (i.e. fundamental understanding), those ground tests are superior as they provide better data than flight does. Fundamentally, you can test just about everything about flight on the ground with these tanks.
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: imprezive on 04/02/2018 01:48 PM
Latest blog (http://www.fireflyspace.com/newblog/alpha-payload-user-s-guide).
Quote
Alpha Payload User's Guide
March 19th, 2018

Today we have released the Alpha Payload User’s Guide, available on our downloads page. This document provides customers with details on vehicle performance and interface information.
User guide attached. Enjoy! :)
Note. On launch Alpha's tank width will make it the SoA with regard to flight weight main CFRP tanks, beyond Rocket Labs tanks.
Only on launch. The 5.5m carbon fiber SLS tank demo (by NASA, Boeing, and Janicki) put a far larger tank through a full range of cryogenic and load testing. As far as full test suites go, that SLS tank demo still wins.

And in some ways (i.e. fundamental understanding), those ground tests are superior as they provide better data than flight does. Fundamentally, you can test just about everything about flight on the ground with these tanks.

SLS doesn’t use carbon tanks AFAIK. Are you thinking about XS-1?
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: e of pi on 04/02/2018 03:11 PM
SLS doesn’t use carbon tanks AFAIK. Are you thinking about XS-1?
NASA did a subscale 5.5m tank for composites procesing demonstrations a few years ago. More information here on the 5.5m version (https://www.compositesworld.com/articles/nasaboeing-composite-launch-vehicle-fuel-tank-scores-firsts) and also some pictures and information here on the earlier 2.4m demo unit (https://www.compositesworld.com/news/nasa-tests-composite-cryogenic-fuel-tank). Note that the vendor Boeing worked with (Janicki Industries of Washington state) has also been SpaceX's subcontractor for the BFR composite tanks, and from the operations described in their filings for the new Port of LA factory Janikcki may also supply the flight tanks for BFR. So there's a direct line here from a NASA/Boeing proof of concept enabling SpaceX's BFR.
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: john smith 19 on 04/02/2018 03:42 PM
And in some ways (i.e. fundamental understanding), those ground tests are superior as they provide better data than flight does. Fundamentally, you can test just about everything about flight on the ground with these tanks.
Except the flight itself.

That's when you discover wheather or not your simulation of the flight loads is accurate or not, and wheather they do, or do not interact.

It's the difference between asking a software developer "Are you a good developer?" and putting them in a room with a live PC, a set of tools and a job spec and telling them "We'll be back in 4 hours. It runs, you've got the job." :)

I wish Firefly the very best of luck.

Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: imprezive on 04/04/2018 02:28 PM
SLS doesn’t use carbon tanks AFAIK. Are you thinking about XS-1?
NASA did a subscale 5.5m tank for composites procesing demonstrations a few years ago. More information here on the 5.5m version (https://www.compositesworld.com/articles/nasaboeing-composite-launch-vehicle-fuel-tank-scores-firsts) and also some pictures and information here on the earlier 2.4m demo unit (https://www.compositesworld.com/news/nasa-tests-composite-cryogenic-fuel-tank). Note that the vendor Boeing worked with (Janicki Industries of Washington state) has also been SpaceX's subcontractor for the BFR composite tanks, and from the operations described in their filings for the new Port of LA factory Janikcki may also supply the flight tanks for BFR. So there's a direct line here from a NASA/Boeing proof of concept enabling SpaceX's BFR.

Cool! Thanks for info. 🙂
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: docmordrid on 04/12/2018 01:43 PM
>
Note that the vendor Boeing worked with (Janicki Industries of Washington state) has also been SpaceX's subcontractor for the BFR composite tanks, and from the operations described in their filings for the new Port of LA factory Janikcki may also supply the flight tanks for BFR. So there's a direct line here from a NASA/Boeing proof of concept enabling SpaceX's BFR.

Nit: via a Teslarati report, SpaceX's new 9m CF tooling is from Ascent Aerospace Coast Composites.
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: vaporcobra on 04/14/2018 09:53 PM
>
Note that the vendor Boeing worked with (Janicki Industries of Washington state) has also been SpaceX's subcontractor for the BFR composite tanks, and from the operations described in their filings for the new Port of LA factory Janikcki may also supply the flight tanks for BFR. So there's a direct line here from a NASA/Boeing proof of concept enabling SpaceX's BFR.

Nit: via a Teslarati report, SpaceX's new 9m CF tooling is from Ascent Aerospace Coast Composites.

FWIW, another supplier is Airtech, likely more on the materiel side of things.
http://www.airtechintl.com/en
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: Kryten on 04/16/2018 04:02 PM
 Firefly have updated their website (http://www.fireflyspace.com/vehicles/firefly-b) with a next-gen Beta design, the PUG has also been updated to include it. 4,000kg to LEO, 3,000kg to 500km SSO, and 400kg inclined GSO. The first stages look to be standard Alpha ones but the second stage is a new wider unit, albeit with the same engine as the Alpha one.
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: TrevorMonty on 04/16/2018 06:03 PM
A 3 core heaviy is never that simple as SpaceX found out, but lot easier if they've employed a few exFH engineers.

Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: vaporcobra on 04/17/2018 03:42 AM
Some more details. I was conflicted, but it looks a lot more elegant in the User Guide.
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 05/01/2018 01:59 PM
Quote
Firefly Aerospace Receives Statement of Support from the United States Air Force for Use of Vandenberg Air Force Base Space Launch Complex 2 West



CEDAR PARK, Texas, May 1, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Firefly Aerospace, Inc. (Firefly), a developer of orbital launch vehicles for the small to medium satellite market, announced today that the United States Air Force (USAF) has issued a "Statement of Support for the Firefly Aerospace Program, Alpha and Beta Launch Vehicles" to utilize Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB) Space Launch Complex 2 West (SLC-2W) for future launches of the Firefly Alpha and Beta launch vehicles.

"Firefly Aerospace is greatly appreciative that NASA and the USAF support the transition of SLC-2W to a commercial launch site dedicated to the launch of Firefly vehicles," said Firefly CEO Dr. Tom Markusic. "SLC-2W has been an incredible asset for US space missions for over 50 years. We are humbled and honored that Firefly Alpha and Beta launch vehicles will be adding many successful missions to the already storied history of SLC-2W."

30th Space Wing Commander, Colonel Michael S. Hough, stated: "We are excited to be currently working with a new launch provider, Firefly, at Vandenberg Air Force Base. This is a new commercial space lift provider seeking to launch commercial satellites from SLC-2W."

Firefly's Director of Launch, Brad Obrocto, added: "Converting an active government launch site to commercial operation is substantially less complex and costly than the greenfield development of a new launch site, saving Firefly years of facility development and substantial capex dollars. This enables Firefly to stay on track for Alpha's first flight by the third quarter of 2019 and ramp up to monthly launches by the end of 2020. The accommodation of Firefly launch by the USAF significantly enhances Firefly's ability to service the full spectrum of government and commercial customers from one location and advances Firefly's vision of 'Making Space for Everyone.'"

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/firefly-aerospace-receives-statement-of-support-from-the-united-states-air-force-for-use-of-vandenberg-air-force-base-space-launch-complex-2-west-300639495.html
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: Lars-J on 05/02/2018 05:52 AM
Quote
Firefly Aerospace Receives Statement of Support from the United States Air Force for Use of Vandenberg Air Force Base Space Launch Complex 2 West



CEDAR PARK, Texas, May 1, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Firefly Aerospace, Inc. (Firefly), a developer of orbital launch vehicles for the small to medium satellite market, announced today that the United States Air Force (USAF) has issued a "Statement of Support for the Firefly Aerospace Program, Alpha and Beta Launch Vehicles" to utilize Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB) Space Launch Complex 2 West (SLC-2W) for future launches of the Firefly Alpha and Beta launch vehicles.

"Firefly Aerospace is greatly appreciative that NASA and the USAF support the transition of SLC-2W to a commercial launch site dedicated to the launch of Firefly vehicles," said Firefly CEO Dr. Tom Markusic. "SLC-2W has been an incredible asset for US space missions for over 50 years. We are humbled and honored that Firefly Alpha and Beta launch vehicles will be adding many successful missions to the already storied history of SLC-2W."

30th Space Wing Commander, Colonel Michael S. Hough, stated: "We are excited to be currently working with a new launch provider, Firefly, at Vandenberg Air Force Base. This is a new commercial space lift provider seeking to launch commercial satellites from SLC-2W."

Firefly's Director of Launch, Brad Obrocto, added: "Converting an active government launch site to commercial operation is substantially less complex and costly than the greenfield development of a new launch site, saving Firefly years of facility development and substantial capex dollars. This enables Firefly to stay on track for Alpha's first flight by the third quarter of 2019 and ramp up to monthly launches by the end of 2020. The accommodation of Firefly launch by the USAF significantly enhances Firefly's ability to service the full spectrum of government and commercial customers from one location and advances Firefly's vision of 'Making Space for Everyone.'"

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/firefly-aerospace-receives-statement-of-support-from-the-united-states-air-force-for-use-of-vandenberg-air-force-base-space-launch-complex-2-west-300639495.html

If that's the way things end up, I guess that means that NorthropGrummanOrbitalATK will be forced to look into SLC-6 for their OmegA rocket at VAFB.
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: woods170 on 05/02/2018 06:32 AM
Quote
Firefly Aerospace Receives Statement of Support from the United States Air Force for Use of Vandenberg Air Force Base Space Launch Complex 2 West



CEDAR PARK, Texas, May 1, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Firefly Aerospace, Inc. (Firefly), a developer of orbital launch vehicles for the small to medium satellite market, announced today that the United States Air Force (USAF) has issued a "Statement of Support for the Firefly Aerospace Program, Alpha and Beta Launch Vehicles" to utilize Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB) Space Launch Complex 2 West (SLC-2W) for future launches of the Firefly Alpha and Beta launch vehicles.

"Firefly Aerospace is greatly appreciative that NASA and the USAF support the transition of SLC-2W to a commercial launch site dedicated to the launch of Firefly vehicles," said Firefly CEO Dr. Tom Markusic. "SLC-2W has been an incredible asset for US space missions for over 50 years. We are humbled and honored that Firefly Alpha and Beta launch vehicles will be adding many successful missions to the already storied history of SLC-2W."

30th Space Wing Commander, Colonel Michael S. Hough, stated: "We are excited to be currently working with a new launch provider, Firefly, at Vandenberg Air Force Base. This is a new commercial space lift provider seeking to launch commercial satellites from SLC-2W."

Firefly's Director of Launch, Brad Obrocto, added: "Converting an active government launch site to commercial operation is substantially less complex and costly than the greenfield development of a new launch site, saving Firefly years of facility development and substantial capex dollars. This enables Firefly to stay on track for Alpha's first flight by the third quarter of 2019 and ramp up to monthly launches by the end of 2020. The accommodation of Firefly launch by the USAF significantly enhances Firefly's ability to service the full spectrum of government and commercial customers from one location and advances Firefly's vision of 'Making Space for Everyone.'"

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/firefly-aerospace-receives-statement-of-support-from-the-united-states-air-force-for-use-of-vandenberg-air-force-base-space-launch-complex-2-west-300639495.html

If that's the way things end up, I guess that means that NorthropGrummanOrbitalATK will be forced to look into SLC-6 for their OmegA rocket at VAFB.

There was never any question about that given that SLC-2W is under-sized for OmegA.
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: fthomassy on 05/02/2018 02:40 PM
"Firefly Aerospace does the work both in Texas, and in Ukraine. American and Ukrainian engineers work together. You can’t say, whether the final product is American or a Ukrainian one."
http://spaceukraine.com/2017/10/01/mikhail-ryabokon-head-of-innovation-at-noosphere-all-the-breakthrough-ideas-are-suggested-by-young-people/

 - Ed Kyle
Well done finding that! Seems to be a good question to put into Markusic's next interview. Oh and ITAR?
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: ringsider on 05/02/2018 06:03 PM
"Firefly Aerospace does the work both in Texas, and in Ukraine. American and Ukrainian engineers work together. You can’t say, whether the final product is American or a Ukrainian one."
http://spaceukraine.com/2017/10/01/mikhail-ryabokon-head-of-innovation-at-noosphere-all-the-breakthrough-ideas-are-suggested-by-young-people/

 - Ed Kyle

Wow. That is quite a thing to say for an ITAR-controlled American launch company.
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: fthomassy on 05/02/2018 06:53 PM
Wow. That is quite a thing to say for an ITAR-controlled American launch company.
That's why I thought it'd be a good question for the CEO. Either this fellow is wrong, the context was misunderstood or there are protocols to keep with ITAR. It's never rarely what we -the uninformed public- think.

Edit for clarity. fern
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: Davidthefat on 05/02/2018 07:27 PM
Wow. That is quite a thing to say for an ITAR-controlled American launch company.
That's why I thought it'd be a good question for the CEO. Either this fellow is wrong, the context was misunderstood or there are protocols keep with ITAR. It's never what we -the uninformed public- think.

Also given the source, the wording might have been to minimize criticisms from the Ukrainian public regarding why they are sending money to foreigners. In reality the Ukrainians are subcontractors that have very defined subsystems that they work on without technical input from the Americans.

Like they may be using Ukrainian avionics with American software and American hardware (as an example).

That's the only way I can think of how they can operate without Homeland Security raiding their offices.
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: Lars-J on 05/02/2018 07:31 PM
That's the only way I can think of how they can operate without Homeland Security raiding their offices.

Unless their offices are being raided as we type, as a response to that article. It is bound to raise a lot of eyebrows, which may not be good for Firefly as they seem to be in negotiations to take over SLC-2W at VAFB.
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: ringsider on 05/02/2018 09:48 PM
Unless their offices are being raided as we type, as a response to that article. It is bound to raise a lot of eyebrows

You are not kidding. If there's one thing the US govt. does not screw around on it is MTCR proliferation, and a lot of rocket tech is not just ITAR controlled but also in the MTCR annex of the US Munitions List, which is waaaay more tightly controlled.

ITAR fines are massive, FLIR just got a $30m fine for exporting information to foreign workers about  imaging cameras:-

"According to the government, FLIR violated various parts of the Arms Export Control Act and ITAR more than 300 times. Many of these violations had to do with foreign employees with access to sensitive information..."

Companies have to be very, very careful what they do once aware of the issue - FLIR did a voluntary disclosure and still got hit. Even worse, if the State Dept. actively investigates because of a news story without voluntary disclosure, the penalities are draconian. And you know, once they get inside, they always, always find something to make a case - doesn't matter who you are: ULA, Airbus have been hammered before. Even the big guys get it wrong.
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: woods170 on 05/03/2018 06:59 AM
"Firefly Aerospace does the work both in Texas, and in Ukraine. American and Ukrainian engineers work together. You can’t say, whether the final product is American or a Ukrainian one."
http://spaceukraine.com/2017/10/01/mikhail-ryabokon-head-of-innovation-at-noosphere-all-the-breakthrough-ideas-are-suggested-by-young-people/ (http://spaceukraine.com/2017/10/01/mikhail-ryabokon-head-of-innovation-at-noosphere-all-the-breakthrough-ideas-are-suggested-by-young-people/)

 - Ed Kyle

Wow. That is quite a thing to say for an ITAR-controlled American launch company.


How is this any different from Orbital-ATK fielding a launch vehicle with Russian-built engines, Ukrainian designed- and built first stage, with only the upper stage, fairing and avionics being US-built?

The answer is: it isn't any different, and nobody ever made a problem of Antares being well over 50% of foreign origin.

Also: has ITAR recently prevented Atlas V from being launched?
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: woods170 on 05/03/2018 07:05 AM
That's the only way I can think of how they can operate without Homeland Security raiding their offices.

Unless their offices are being raided as we type, as a response to that article. It is bound to raise a lot of eyebrows, which may not be good for Firefly as they seem to be in negotiations to take over SLC-2W at VAFB.

No. You, and others here, don't understand. There are perfectly legitimate ways of having (parts) of your rockets designed and built outside the USA without violating ITAR and/or MTCR. As Ed has pointed out there are many examples of US companies fielding rockets with foreign built- and supplied components.
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: ringsider on 05/03/2018 08:24 AM
No. You, and others here, don't understand. There are perfectly legitimate ways of having (parts) of your rockets designed and built outside the USA without violating ITAR and/or MTCR. As Ed has pointed out there are many examples of US companies fielding rockets with foreign built- and supplied components.

You are correct but the export of designs, or even know-how, for various essential components is heavily controlled and would need a license for each item. Each instance of a breach is $100,000 fine.

Import is another matter, and would depend on the export controls in Ukraine, which is an MTCR signatory. Let's not forget that the entire reason DNEPR disappeared from the market was the crisis in Ukraine.
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: Lars-J on 05/03/2018 08:28 AM
That's the only way I can think of how they can operate without Homeland Security raiding their offices.

Unless their offices are being raided as we type, as a response to that article. It is bound to raise a lot of eyebrows, which may not be good for Firefly as they seem to be in negotiations to take over SLC-2W at VAFB.

No. You, and others here, don't understand. There are perfectly legitimate ways of having (parts) of your rockets designed and built outside the USA without violating ITAR and/or MTCR.


Of course there are legitimate ways to do it. But are they doing it the right way? The Firefly leadership doesn’t have the best track record when dealing with intellectual property and legalities. But we’ll have to wait and see.
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: ringsider on 05/03/2018 11:21 AM
And while googling "firefly ukraine" in Google News, this was the 3rd hit:

http://micetimes.asia/max-polyakov-and-maxim-krippa-are-suspected-of-cybercrime-in-ukraine/ (http://micetimes.asia/max-polyakov-and-maxim-krippa-are-suspected-of-cybercrime-in-ukraine/)

Max Polyakov and Maxim Krippa are suspected of cybercrime in Ukraine

13.04.2018

Cyberpolice came out on the trail of an organized criminal group that organizes gambling on the Internet and creates porn studios in Ukraine. In recent days the security enforcers closed off 8 gambling sites like “Vulkan” and took under arrest 12 people. In total, more than 200 online casino sites are featured in the case. As a result of the investigative actions, it was possible to establish that the centralized control over a part of the illegal gaming business in Ukraine is carried out by Max Polyakov, a businessman from Zaporozhye who now lives in the USA.The official assets of the businessman include such companies: Noosphere Ventures, Together Networks, Murka and a failed aerospace startup FireFly.   The operational activity of the group is monitored by Max Polyakov’s Kiev partner Maxim Krippa.

Law enforcers say that the group has been operating for several years. In 2015, the enforcers closed off a porn studio with online chat rooms in the center of Zaporozhye. The studio was located in the office of the company Easy Date, which is in the holding of Max Polyakov’s dating sites. In the course of operational activities, cyberpolice officials found that several online casino sites were also operating from those computers, and that office is only part of the global criminal structure.

By 2017, a significant amount of information was collected and operational activities began. Over the past year, police officers have closed off more than 50 porn studios in various regions of Ukraine and blocked the activities of dozens of online casino sites. But it was only at the beginning of 2018 that they managed to reach the head of the criminal group. It turned out that all regional units of the organized criminal group are led from several offices in Kiev.

The main product of the group are online casino sites such as “Vulkan”. An important feature of all resources was that activity is aimed at the inhabitants of the CIS. Despite the blocking of sites on the territory of Ukraine, online casino support service offers to use of programs that replace IP addresses to provide anonymous access and free visits to such resources. The scheme of input-output of money during the game was built only with the use of Russian banking institutions and payment systems.
.
.
.
According to the National Police of Ukraine, today, employees of the cyberpolice have already conducted 15 authorized searches. According to their results, more than a hundred pieces of computer equipment, mobile phones, additional storage media, bank cards, a checkbook of an American bank, Russian passports of criminal group members, official and draft documents were seized. Weapons, ammunition, drugs and money in foreign currency were also seized.
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: Davidthefat on 05/03/2018 02:19 PM
That's the only way I can think of how they can operate without Homeland Security raiding their offices.

Unless their offices are being raided as we type, as a response to that article. It is bound to raise a lot of eyebrows, which may not be good for Firefly as they seem to be in negotiations to take over SLC-2W at VAFB.

No. You, and others here, don't understand. There are perfectly legitimate ways of having (parts) of your rockets designed and built outside the USA without violating ITAR and/or MTCR. As Ed has pointed out there are many examples of US companies fielding rockets with foreign built- and supplied components.

Exactly, my point being that Ukrainians are strictly subcontractors.
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: john smith 19 on 05/03/2018 04:42 PM
That's the only way I can think of how they can operate without Homeland Security raiding their offices.

Unless their offices are being raided as we type, as a response to that article. It is bound to raise a lot of eyebrows, which may not be good for Firefly as they seem to be in negotiations to take over SLC-2W at VAFB.

No. You, and others here, don't understand. There are perfectly legitimate ways of having (parts) of your rockets designed and built outside the USA without violating ITAR and/or MTCR. As Ed has pointed out there are many examples of US companies fielding rockets with foreign built- and supplied components.
True.

The problems start for LV mfg in other countries trying to source US parts or run tests on US facilities and becoming contaminated by US ITAR restrictions.

It take very careful attention to detail to avoid ITAR contamination to allow overseas LV mfgs and designers to use US hardware without the whole panoply of the State Depts unwieldy bureaucracy dropping on them.  :(
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: brickmack on 05/05/2018 12:09 AM
No. You, and others here, don't understand. There are perfectly legitimate ways of having (parts) of your rockets designed and built outside the USA without violating ITAR and/or MTCR. As Ed has pointed out there are many examples of US companies fielding rockets with foreign built- and supplied components.

That directoy contradicts his statement in the article though, that there is no clear division between what is American and Ukrainian
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: vaporcobra on 05/06/2018 04:51 AM
Stepping away from the wonderful hell that is ITAR, some hardware stuff!

These are just-finished composite tank structures, per a LinkedIn post from a partner of one of Firefly's investors.
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: Katana on 05/06/2018 05:09 AM
That's the only way I can think of how they can operate without Homeland Security raiding their offices.

Unless their offices are being raided as we type, as a response to that article. It is bound to raise a lot of eyebrows, which may not be good for Firefly as they seem to be in negotiations to take over SLC-2W at VAFB.

No. You, and others here, don't understand. There are perfectly legitimate ways of having (parts) of your rockets designed and built outside the USA without violating ITAR and/or MTCR. As Ed has pointed out there are many examples of US companies fielding rockets with foreign built- and supplied components.

Exactly, my point being that Ukrainians are strictly subcontractors.
Subcontracctor for tap off engine or composite structure?
Are they capable of develop these subsystems without tech transfer?
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: playadelmars on 05/14/2018 03:51 PM
Anyone else know how much of this hardware (composite tanks, engines, test stand, etc) was leftover from before the Ukrainians came in with funding? Is this all new development or a continuation of before? Curious to see them, like last time, fall into the same traps of already talking about a much more complex V2 Beta rocket before even having Alpha flying...
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: fthomassy on 05/14/2018 04:03 PM
Anyone else know how much of this hardware (composite tanks, engines, test stand, etc) was leftover from before the Ukrainians came in with funding? Is this all new development or a continuation of before? Curious to see them, like last time, fall into the same traps of already talking about a much more complex V2 Beta rocket before even having Alpha flying...
Looks like all facilities and hardware from the first iteration transferred to the new. However, the Alpha is a new design so (logically) all tanks are different. I suspect the Lightening second stage engine is a derivative of the old first stage engine but I could be wrong as I didn't think to ask.
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: playadelmars on 05/18/2018 04:26 AM
http://www.fireflyspace.com/news/ournews/firefly-aerospace-opens-research-and-development-center-in-dnipro-ukraine
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: vaporcobra on 05/19/2018 02:16 AM
Integrated stage testing is supposed to begin later this summer, per Mark Watt (an investor).
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: catdlr on 05/22/2018 09:12 PM
Reaver Engine Hot Fire
Firefly Aerospace
Published on May 22, 2018

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wr5NjUaqdNs?t=001

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wr5NjUaqdNs
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: Davidthefat on 05/22/2018 09:22 PM
Reaver Engine Hot Fire
Firefly Aerospace
Published on May 22, 2018

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wr5NjUaqdNs?t=001

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wr5NjUaqdNs

As stated in the description, the test was pressure fed from ground side; firing of the thrust chamber only.
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: Gliderflyer on 05/22/2018 11:50 PM
Reaver Engine Hot Fire
Firefly Aerospace
Published on May 22, 2018

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wr5NjUaqdNs?t=001

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wr5NjUaqdNs

Looks like a TEA TEB ignition and a whole bunch of film cooling.
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: FutureSpaceTourist on 05/25/2018 06:20 PM
Quote
Tom Markusic, Firefly Aerospace: moving at full speed, have all the money and people we need, test facility and launch site. Spend next year or so putting the parts together then launch #ISDC2018

https://twitter.com/spacecom/status/1000065045596815360

Quote
Tom Markusic, Firefly Aerospace: we’ve been through some ups and downs, but now we have all the money we need, have the people, and a launch site. Planning for first Alpha launch in 3rd quarter of 2019. #ISDC2018

https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/1000065245338054656

Edit to add:

Quote
Markusic: Max Polyakov is funding the company and is heavily involved. Ukrainian ties led to us opening an R&D facility there with 150 people. Ribbon cutting ceremony lest week attended by Ukrainian president. #ISDC2018

https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/1000066432141578240
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: Lars-J on 05/25/2018 06:47 PM
Quote
Markusic: Max Polyakov is funding the company and is heavily involved. Ukrainian ties led to us opening an R&D facility there with 150 people. Ribbon cutting ceremony lest week attended by Ukrainian president. #ISDC2018

https://twitter.com/jeff_foust/status/1000066432141578240

150 people? So does this mean that they will now have more Ukrainian employees than US based ones? I guess you take the funding you can get, but I wonder what hoops they had to (and will have to) jump though to solve ITAR issues.
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: TrevorMonty on 05/25/2018 07:31 PM
Another tweet from jeff

Markusic: reusability follows after you demonstrate you can get into space first. Considering it for the follow-on Beta vehicle; side boosters will separate at a fairly low altitude, and looking at means to do parachute recovery of them. #ISDC2018
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: ChrisWilson68 on 05/26/2018 07:10 AM
http://www.fireflyspace.com/news/ournews/firefly-aerospace-opens-research-and-development-center-in-dnipro-ukraine

From the press release:

Quote
John Isella, Director of International Business Development for Firefly and a resident of Dnipro said, “Firefly expects to be the first new space company to obtain a US Government Technical Assistance Agreement (TAA) facilitating design collaboration between the US and Ukraine. This collaboration, once approved, will leverage the knowledge base in Dnipro and strengthen our business case. Firefly U.S. is looking forward to working with Firefly Ukraine in compliance with all U.S. export control requirements. Both companies have implemented robust programs designed to ensure compliance now and in the future.”
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: Davidthefat on 05/26/2018 09:36 PM
Doesn't Orbital ATK and Sea Launch already have TAAs with Yuzhnoye in Ukraine for their boosters?
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: russianhalo117 on 05/26/2018 10:00 PM
Doesn't Orbital ATK and Sea Launch already have TAAs with Yuzhnoye in Ukraine for their boosters?
Read it more carefully:
Quote
...
Firefly expects to be the first new space company to obtain a US Government Technical Assistance Agreement (TAA) ...
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: Davidthefat on 05/27/2018 01:52 PM
Isn't Sea Launch considered a new space venture? Given that the whole selling point of Sea Launch was to launch from ships instead of from established government owned land based launch sites? Isn't going against the status quo the criteria for being "New Space"?
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: brickmack on 05/27/2018 03:36 PM
Its still a company owned by 3 of the oldest space companies/entities there are (and an oil company), flying a 80s era rocket
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: zubenelgenubi on 05/27/2018 03:59 PM
Isn't Sea Launch considered a new space venture? Given that the whole selling point of Sea Launch was to launch from ships instead of from established government owned land based launch sites? Isn't going against the status quo the criteria for being "New Space"?
IIRC think there were 5 important reasons for the existence of (the original) Sea Launch...(experts correct me, please, if I'm wrong)

Two orbital mechanics reasons:
ONE Launch due east on the Equator, to take maximum advantage of the rotational velocity of the Earth.

TWO Launch into a 0 deg. inclination GTO leads to no delta-V for a burn to reduce inclination into GEO.

Three practical reasons:
THREE Sea mobility means not having to build or pay for (Kourou, if they'd allow at any price) the use of a land base on or near the Equator.

(There ARE no other major equatorial orbital launch sites in the world.)

FOUR Means for Boeing to tap into relatively cheap skilled aerospace labor in the former USSR.

FIVE Keeping said highly skilled individuals working for good, instead of assisting rogue states to achieve ICBM capability ("Next week, on MacGyver...")
 
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: ringsider on 06/01/2018 09:01 AM
Another interesting link.

The current Executive Director (CEO?) of Skyrora, Laura Edison, is also concurrently the General Counsel to Firefly Aerospace:-

https://www.linkedin.com/in/laura-edison-08424b32/

According to that profile she also used to be the General Counsel at Cupid plc, which was Max Polyakov's adult entertainment company, until it went through some difficult times:-

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cupid_plc

Another director, Daniel Smith, was also part of Cupid plc, and is concurrently a Business Development Executive for Noosphere ventures, which is Max Polyakov's VC firm and owner of Firefly.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/danielsmith83/

His profile for Noosphere states:-

"Currently working on a number of projects within the aerospace and social media/ online gaming/ dating sectors, including exciting start-up Skyrora Limited, a UK based launch vehicle company producing rockets for the small satellite market."

But there is no record of Noosphere owning any part of Skyrora Limited in the UK corporate registry. Intriguing.
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: ringsider on 06/01/2018 10:00 PM
Very interesting:-

(https://i.imgur.com/5hodLjx.png)
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: ringsider on 06/02/2018 10:55 AM
Until last night it was maybe coincidence:-

Skyrora Limited

Founded: 23 June 2017
Director: Laura Edison
Sole Owner: Volodimyr Levykin (via Skyrora Ventures Limited)
https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/SC569511

Firefly Aerospace UK Limited:-

Founded: 28 June 2017
Director: Laura Edison
Sole Owner : Volodimyr Levykin
https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/SC569811
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: john smith 19 on 06/02/2018 07:04 PM
Another tweet from jeff

Markusic: reusability follows after you demonstrate you can get into space first. Considering it for the follow-on Beta vehicle; side boosters will separate at a fairly low altitude, and looking at means to do parachute recovery of them. #ISDC2018
So this is yet another small LOX/RP1 ELV in the Electron class?

It's always great to give more rocket engineers hands on experience of engine and LV design and the actual trades involved.

Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: TrevorMonty on 06/02/2018 08:46 PM
Another tweet from jeff

Markusic: reusability follows after you demonstrate you can get into space first. Considering it for the follow-on Beta vehicle; side boosters will separate at a fairly low altitude, and looking at means to do parachute recovery of them. #ISDC2018
So this is yet another small LOX/RP1 ELV in the Electron class?

It's always great to give more rocket engineers hands on experience of engine and LV design and the actual trades involved.
Alpha is 1000kg to LEO vs Electron 225kg so lot bigger. Both fully ELV. The Beta with reusable boosters is 4t, not sure if 4t is with expendable or reuseable boosters, given it is made up of 3xAlpha boosters I'd say 4t is expendable.

No word on Alpha pricing but Relativity 1250kg  Terran1 is listed at $10m or $8000/kg.  I'd guess  $8-9m for Alpha and $20m for expendable Beta.

When these 1000kg class LVs start flying LaunchOne will need to drop is 500kg $10m? price along with all other smaller LVs eg Electron, Vector. The smaller LVs don't have to match bigger LVs on $/kg to orbit but have to be significantly cheaper per launch to justify buying dedicated launch.

Alpha and Terran1 are big enough to take a lot business from VEGA and PSLV while Beta will compete directly with them.
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: john smith 19 on 06/03/2018 10:01 AM
Alpha is 1000kg to LEO vs Electron 225kg so lot bigger. Both fully ELV. The Beta with reusable boosters is 4t, not sure if 4t is with expendable or reuseable boosters, given it is made up of 3xAlpha boosters I'd say 4t is expendable.

No word on Alpha pricing but Relativity 1250kg  Terran1 is listed at $10m or $8000/kg.  I'd guess  $8-9m for Alpha and $20m for expendable Beta.

When these 1000kg class LVs start flying LaunchOne will need to drop is 500kg $10m? price along with all other smaller LVs eg Electron, Vector. The smaller LVs don't have to match bigger LVs on $/kg to orbit but have to be significantly cheaper per launch to justify buying dedicated launch.

Alpha and Terran1 are big enough to take a lot business from VEGA and PSLV while Beta will compete directly with them.
The 3 things that count for any partially or fully expendable LV are
1) Track record
2) Payload & orbit.
3) Cost
 A vehicle with zero track record has a lot to prove. Every vehicle that's launched even once has more track record than it does. If it can't lift the payload a customer needs to the orbit the customer wants it's irrelevant. If it can't do this at a price the customer can afford it's not affordable.

In the US small launchers are the Pegasus XL, but people should look at how often its actually launched in the last say 10 years.

You have to be a lot cheaper before not going as a secondary payload looks cheap.
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: gongora on 06/05/2018 02:25 PM
SSTL awards Launch Services Agreement to Firefly (https://www.sstl.co.uk/media-hub/latest-news/2018/sstl-awards-launch-services-agreement-to-firefly)
Quote
Mon, 04 Jun 2018
CEDAR PARK, Texas, June 1, 2018

Firefly Aerospace, Inc. (Firefly), a developer of orbital launch vehicles for the small to medium satellite market, announced today the execution of a Launch Services Agreement (LSA) with Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL) for use of the Firefly Alpha launch vehicle.

“Firefly is pleased to enter into an LSA with SSTL to provide up to six Alpha launches from 2020 through 2022,” said Firefly CEO Dr. Tom Markusic. “The Alpha launch vehicle allows for deployment of SSTL satellites as a primary payload to their preferred orbit, rather than flying as a secondary payload on a larger launch vehicle.”

Sarah Parker, SSTL Managing Director, said, “SSTL is delighted to be the first Firefly Aerospace customer to sign an LSA. Our new partnership with Firefly assures SSTL customers convenient, dependable access to space, with certainty of launch opportunities. Starting with CARBONITE-4 in early 2020, we look forward to launching many successful missions together.”

Dr. Max Polyakov, Firefly Co-founder, added that, “The Firefly Alpha program is on schedule for our first launch in the third quarter of 2019. Our mass production processes will enable eight Alpha flights in 2020 and eighteen flights in 2021. This launch cadence will allow Firefly to support missions from SSTL and the many other customers that have expressed interest in the Alpha launch vehicle. Firefly is excited to join with SSTL in opening space to a new generation of entrepreneurs.”

Space News article (http://spacenews.com/sstl-orders-launches-from-firefly-aerospace/)
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: ringsider on 06/06/2018 03:23 PM
That is a big leap of faith for SSTL, the price must be amazing.

Just noticed that Firefly's VCLS contract  was "terminated for cause" (contract #NNK15LB19C).
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: russianhalo117 on 06/06/2018 03:50 PM
That is a big leap of faith for SSTL, the price must be amazing.

Just noticed that Firefly's VCLS contract  was "terminated for cause" (contract #NNK15LB19C).




Sent from my SM-G950F using Tapatalk


It was not transferred to the new company.
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: vaporcobra on 06/19/2018 12:07 AM
Stage 2 testing, posted today. Loving the penny-pinching rocket startup vibes...
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: ThePhugoid on 06/19/2018 01:53 AM
Stage 2 testing, posted today. Loving the penny-pinching rocket startup vibes...

What are they testing here exactly, the telehandler forklift?
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: vaporcobra on 06/19/2018 02:14 AM
Stage 2 testing, posted today. Loving the penny-pinching rocket startup vibes...

What are they testing here exactly, the telehandler forklift?

They're carrying it to the test stand.
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: ThePhugoid on 06/19/2018 02:26 AM
Stage 2 testing, posted today. Loving the penny-pinching rocket startup vibes...

What are they testing here exactly, the telehandler forklift?

They're carrying it to the test stand.

Ah so burst or cryo testing, or something of that sort?
Title: Re: Firefly Aerospace
Post by: vaporcobra on 06/19/2018 02:48 AM
Stage 2 testing, posted today. Loving the penny-pinching rocket startup vibes...

What are they testing here exactly, the telehandler forklift?

They're carrying it to the test stand.

Ah so burst or cryo testing, or something of that sort?

I suspect so, I believe they're focusing pretty heavily on perfecting their composite tank technology at the moment.

Edit: Attached a photo of what is presumably the stand being used for these tests.