The partnership originally covered just the integration of Aerojet’s AR1 engine into the Firefly-made Beta medium-class rocket, but the firms announced an additional effort Oct. 22 at the 70th International Astronautical Congress.
Aerojet will help Firefly develop the Alpha launch vehicle for an initial flight early next year. Alpha’s initial stage will use four Reaver engines and is currently under development, with qualification tests scheduled for next month, according to Firefly CEO Tom Markusic.
Firefly will perform the firm’s first launch to orbit in February or March, Markusic said.
Alpha is a rocket designed for commercial satellite launches with a payload capacity of 1 metric ton for low Earth orbit launches, and Beta is a medium-sized vehicle for LEO payloads 8.8K pounds and under.