Author Topic: Firefly Aerospace  (Read 40436 times)

Offline ringsider

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Firefly Aerospace
« 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.
« Last Edit: 07/19/2017 04:04 PM by Lar »

Offline MechE31

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Re: Firefly Aerospace
« Reply #1 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

Offline ringsider

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Re: Firefly Aerospace
« Reply #2 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.

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: Firefly Aerospace
« Reply #3 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.


Offline ringsider

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Re: Firefly Aerospace
« Reply #4 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

Offline starbase

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Re: Firefly Aerospace
« Reply #5 on: 08/21/2017 08:44 PM »

Offline Andy Bandy

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Re: Firefly Aerospace
« Reply #6 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.

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: Firefly Aerospace
« Reply #7 on: 08/21/2017 10:53 PM »
Is firefly owned and financed by Polyakov?.

Offline Andy Bandy

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Re: Firefly Aerospace
« Reply #8 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.

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: Firefly Aerospace
« Reply #9 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.


Offline Prettz

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Re: Firefly Aerospace
« Reply #10 on: 08/23/2017 01:21 AM »
Noosphere? Must be a STALKER reference.

Online FutureSpaceTourist

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Re: Firefly Aerospace
« Reply #11 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

Offline HMXHMX

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Re: Firefly Aerospace
« Reply #12 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.)

Offline Craftyatom

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Re: Firefly Aerospace
« Reply #13 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.
All aboard the HSF hype train!  Choo Choo!

Offline fthomassy

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Re: Firefly Aerospace
« Reply #14 on: 11/14/2017 12:12 AM »
Tom Markusic spoke about his career and Firefly's resurrection at New Worlds 2017 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 competition.  An event held parallel to the first day of the professional symposium. Nice to see a commitment to the next generation of explorers!!
« Last Edit: 11/14/2017 12:27 AM by fthomassy »
gyatm . . . Fern

Online vaporcobra

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Re: Firefly Aerospace
« Reply #15 on: 01/24/2018 07:43 PM »

Offline Steven Pietrobon

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Re: Firefly Aerospace
« Reply #16 on: 01/25/2018 03:23 AM »
Here's the Firefly stream.

Akin's Laws of Spacecraft Design #1:  Engineering is done with numbers.  Analysis without numbers is only an opinion.

Offline matthewkantar

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Re: Firefly Aerospace
« Reply #17 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

Offline edzieba

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Re: Firefly Aerospace
« Reply #18 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!

Online brickmack

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Re: Firefly Aerospace
« Reply #19 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)

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