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Report: Firefly Aerospace to Launch First Flight of Smallsat Rocket in 2020

Report: Firefly Aerospace to Launch First Flight of Smallsat Rocket in 2020 - top government contractors - best government contracting event
Jeff Brody

Firefly Aerospace remains on track for the inaugural flight of its Alpha small satellite rocket sometime in 2020 as the company works to accelerate development and testing of launch vehicle components, NASASpaceFlight reported Thursday

Alpha is designed to carry up to 2,204 pounds of payload to low-orbit and roughly 1,388 lbs to a sun synchronous orbit.

The vehicle will emply four Reaver first stage engines and a single Lightning engine on the second stage for launch.

Firefly expects qualification tests to occur through late 2019 and plans to use Space Launch Complex 2 West at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California for initial flights of its Alpha rocket.

The company is building a mass production facility at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida to support rapid launch operations. 

Another space vehicle may come out in the early 2020s, the company said. The Beta rocket will serve as an upgraded tri-core launcher based on Alpha's features and is scheduled for launch between 2021 and 2022. 

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Written by Darwin McDaniel

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