Firefly: Low-Cost Satellite Launch to Low Earth Orbit

#Space

Tue, Jul 8th, 2014 10:00 by capnasty NEWS

Called Firefly, this service promises to provide affordable launches of satellites to Earth's low orbit using an all-composite launch vehicle powered by methane and constructed using light-weight mass-produced components.

Firefly was created for one simple reason: provide low-cost, high-performance space launch capability for the underserved small satellite market, where secondary-payload launches are often the only option. The technologies employed in our state-of-the-art rockets provide a clear pathway for future incremental improvements in vehicle capability. Later vehicles will also have reusable elements and employ air-breathing propulsion.

Small satellites are playing an increasingly significant role in space. Smaller, lighter and cheaper satellite technologies have led to functional systems that are a fraction of the size of their predecessors. Meanwhile, constellations of small satellites are showing promise for replacing larger custom-built systems, thus providing redundancy and the ability to regularly refresh system technology. Lastly, many advanced technologies languish at middle TRL levels. Low cost rides to space will allow these technologies to be proven and advance our collective space-flight capabilities.

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