General Atomics Taps Firefly Aerospace to Launch NASA Payload for Aerosols Study Mission

General Atomics Taps Firefly Aerospace to Launch NASA Payload for Aerosols Study Mission
General Atomics

General Atomics' electromagnetic systems business has selected Firefly Aerospace to perform launch services for a GA-EMS satellite carrying an instrument that NASA will use to study how aerosols in the atmosphere affect human health.

Firefly will use its Alpha rocket to launch the Orbital Test Bed satellite, equipped with the Multi-Angle Imager for Aerosols instrument, in 2022 from Vandenberg Air Force Base, General Atomics said Thursday.

NASA’s California-based Jet Propulsion Laboratory designed and developed MAIA to measure atmospheric aerosols that may be related to respiratory and cardiovascular diseases and other issues that threaten human health.

The Earth System Science Pathfinder Program of the agency handles the mission for MAIA, which is planned to operate in orbit over 12 target locations for three years. 

“Firefly’s Alpha rocket meets all technical and performance requirements to launch GA-EMS’ OTB spacecraft with the MAIA instrument as the primary payload on a rideshare mission,” said Scott Forney, president of General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems.

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