Firefly Aerospace Announces Leo Sipich as Vice President of Avionics

CEDAR PARK, Texas, Oct. 17, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Firefly Aerospace, Inc. (Firefly), a developer of orbital launch vehicles for the small to medium satellite market, announced today that Leo Sipich has been appointed as Vice President of Avionics. Sipich has over 35 years of experience in avionics product development and engineering management. He is a Lean/Six Sigma Subject Matter Expert (SME) with extensive training and experience in the development and execution of Operational Excellence programs.

Firefly Aerospace Vice President of Avionics Leo Sipich

“Leo’s broad experience in the aerospace industry is a huge asset for Firefly,” said Firefly CEO Dr. Tom Markusic. “He has a proven record of success with complex systems in both air and space. Leo has been a critical member of the Firefly Aerospace team since our inception and his contributions span many areas of our organization. As we drive towards our first Alpha launch in the fourth quarter of 2019, Leo and his highly accomplished team will be leading the way.”

Sipich’s previous work includes development and production of command and control systems for commercial, military and classified spacecraft and missile systems programs. In addition, he was the SME for process improvement on military aircraft programs including F22, F16, F117, C130J, C5, and F35.

“At this point in my career, I have been blessed with an opportunity to contribute to a program that will transform the space launch business with frequent, affordable, and reliable access to space for small and medium class payloads,” said Leo Sipich. “Successful programs require a dedicated, talented team and full support and commitment of our company owners and that is exactly what we have at Firefly Aerospace.”

ABOUT FIREFLY AEROSPACE

Firefly is developing a family of launch vehicles to provide industry-leading affordability, convenience and reliability for dedicated light to medium lift launches. Firefly’s Alpha and Beta vehicles utilize common technologies, manufacturing infrastructure and launch capabilities, providing LEO launch solutions for up to one and four metric tons of payload respectively. Alpha and Beta will provide the space industry with access to frequent launches at the lowest cost/kg, enabling ambitious commercial and exploration missions from LEO to the Moon. Headquartered in Cedar Park TX, Firefly has additional presence in Washington, D.C., Dnipro, Ukraine and Tokyo, Japan. Firefly is financed by Noosphere Ventures of Menlo Park, CA.

York Space Systems Enters Memorandum of Understanding with Firefly Aerospace

CEDAR PARK, Texas, Oct. 10, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Cedar Park, TX., Firefly Aerospace, Inc.(Firefly), a developer of orbital launch vehicles for the small to medium satellite market, announced today the execution of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with York Space Systems (York) for the development of integrated launch services and spacecraft mission solutions.

“Firefly is pleased to enter into an MOU with York to formulate an integrated market offering that includes spacecraft, launch, and downlink provider, which will provide customers with a single point of entry to build space-based businesses,” said Firefly CEO Dr. Tom Markusic. “We are excited to work closely with York to continue lowering the economic and schedule barriers to orbital access.”

Dirk Wallinger, York CEO, said, “The York S-CLASS spacecraft enables a broad range of configurable options for a multitude of space entrepreneurs and government customers for streamlined operations. Our commercial and government customers emphasize the need for integrated solutions that facilitate rapid deployment of spacecraft. This partnership with Firefly will give our customers another fantastic launch service option for rapid access to space.”

Les Kovacs, Firefly Vice President of Business Development, added that, “The performance of the Firefly Alpha allows for deployment of up to four York S-CLASS satellites in a single launch. Alpha’s industry leading small satellite launch vehicle performance will enable Firefly to provide York’s expanding customer base pre-configured launch solutions to greatly reduce historically long launch campaign timelines. We look forward to executing many successful missions together.”

ABOUT FIREFLY AEROSPACE

Firefly is developing a family of launch vehicles to provide industry-leading affordability, convenience and reliability for dedicated light to medium lift launches. Firefly’s Alpha and Beta vehicles utilize common technologies, manufacturing infrastructure and launch capabilities, providing LEO launch solutions for up to one and four metric tons of payload respectively. Alpha and Beta will provide the space industry with access to frequent launches at the lowest cost/kg, enabling ambitious commercial and exploration missions from LEO to the Moon. Headquartered in Cedar Park TX, Firefly has additional presence in Washington, D.C., Dnipro, Ukraine and Tokyo, Japan. Firefly is financed by Noosphere Ventures of Menlo Park, CA.

ABOUT YORK SPACE SYSTEMS

York Space Systems was founded to radically improve spacecraft affordability and reliability, transforming and enabling next generation space mission operations worldwide. Today, it is one of the most innovative aerospace companies, specializing in both end-to-end customer solutions and the manufacture of spacecraft platforms in Denver. York’s S-CLASS industrial-grade platform is a standardized 3-axis stabilized spacecraft capable of supporting 85kg payloads with up to 100W of Orbit Average Power (OAP) and 3,000W peak (Enhanced power system), while reducing the cost of manufacture by an order of magnitude. The S-CLASS spacecraft is fully compatible with all launch vehicles, including ground and air-launched, and ground segment providers. When optioned with York’s cloud-based mission tasking and operations center, an ultra-low-cost solution is available on demand for next generation data collection and analytics companies. For more information, visit http://www.YorkSpaceSystems.com

Firefly Aerospace Welcomes Shea Ferring as Vice President of Mission Assurance

CEDAR PARK, Texas, Sept. 26, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Firefly Aerospace, Inc. (Firefly), a developer of orbital launch vehicles for the small to medium satellite market, announced today that Shea Ferring has joined Firefly as Vice President of Mission Assurance. Ferring has more than 25 years of experience in design, integration and test of space systems. Throughout his career, Shea has held numerous engineering and leadership roles, including positions at NASA Launch Services Program, ECAPS, Vencore, and Orbital ATK. He has participated in over 50 space missions spanning numerous launch vehicles, including Minotaur, Atlas V, Delta IV, Pegasus, and Falcon 9.

Shea Ferring, Firefly Aerospace Vice President of Mission Assurance

“Shea brings a wealth of hands on mission assurance experience to Firefly,” said Firefly CEO Dr. Tom Markusic. “As Firefly’s technology matures, we continue to augment our senior leadership with individuals that have a proven track record of driving complex aerospace development projects to successful completion. This signals to our customers that we are serious about maintaining both quality and schedule. Shea’s knowledge and in-depth experience with numerous orbital launch vehicles will be a tremendous asset for the Firefly team.”

Ferring is an expert in launch vehicle design, qualification, integration, test and flight and holds a Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering from Arizona State University. Ferring’s leadership, multi-discipline engineering expertise and passion allow him to deliver impactful strategic guidance and mentoring to the Firefly team.

“Firefly’s culture is being developed to integrate the best blend of key heritage Mission Success principles while also capitalizing on NewSpace innovation that is driven by vision, passion, and employee empowerment,” said Shea Ferring. “This perfect blend will set Firefly apart from the competition with a highly reliable system that both government and commercial customers can rely on for their most mission critical needs. I am excited to help mentor and lead the Firefly team in developing this culture to dominate the small and medium launch markets.”

ABOUT FIREFLY AEROSPACE

Firefly is developing a family of launch vehicles to provide industry-leading affordability, convenience and reliability for dedicated light to medium lift launches. Firefly’s Alpha and Beta vehicles utilize common technologies, manufacturing infrastructure and launch capabilities, providing LEO launch solutions for up to one and four metric tons of payload respectively. Alpha and Beta will provide the space industry with access to frequent launches at the lowest cost/kg, enabling ambitious commercial and exploration missions from LEO to the Moon. Headquartered in Cedar Park TX, Firefly has additional presence in Washington, D.C., Dnipro, Ukraine and Tokyo, Japan. Firefly is financed by Noosphere Ventures of Menlo Park, CA.

Firefly Aerospace Saves Space Foundation International Student Art Contest

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Sept. 12, 2018) – Since 2011, the Space Foundation’s International Student Art Contest has inspired thousands of children around the globe toenvision the possibilities and adventures to be found in space. However, for 2019, the art contest almost ended. In spite of participation by 4,578 children in 57 countries this year, a lack of sponsorship nearly killed plans for the contest to continue in 2019. But at the eleventh hour, Austin-based Firefly Aerospace stepped in to sponsor the art contest for 2019.

“Imagination combined with hard work brings new things into reality. By encouraging students to envision destinations for their spaceships, and providing them the platform to share their creations, we hope to instill excitement in the next generation of space enthusiasts and entrepreneurs,” said Firefly CEO Dr. Tom Markusic. “Firefly is honored to partner with the Space Foundation to provide students around our world with the opportunity to artistically contemplate new worlds and promote expanding the limits of their imagination.”

Dr. Max Polyakov, Firefly’s Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Silicon Valley-based Noosphere Ventures added, “I strongly support Space Foundation’s International Student Art Contest and believe it should be promoted widely. I asked my team to contribute to spreading the word about the contest. In the next year, I hope we, together with the Space Foundation, will initiate more projects aimed at youth.”

Student artists ages 3 to 18 years old are invited to enter the 2019 contest by submitting their original artwork. Children may draw, paint or create a digital mixed media image for the 2019 contest theme “Where Will Your Spaceship Take You?”

There is no cost to participate in the contest. The deadline to submit entries is noon universal time (12:00 UTC), Nov. 19, 2018, and artwork must be submitted online by the student’s teacher, parent or legal guardian, 18 years or older. Homeschool students are also invited to participate.

Prizes will be awarded by age category and the winners notified in February 2019.

Awards and Categories

The Space Foundation will award a total of 25 winners — first, second and third place for each age category and a Space Foundation Achievement Award.

Acceptable Artwork Media/Format

  • Drawing
  • Painting
  • Mixed media
  • Digital art

Eight Age Categories

  • 3 - 4 years
  • 5 - 6 years
  • 7 - 8 years
  • 9 - 10 years
  • 11 - 12 years
  • 13 - 14 years
  • 15 - 16 years
  • 17 - 18 years

Prizes and Exposure

  • Winning entries will be displayed on the Space Foundation website and on the contest website, social media and at the 35th Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, Colo., USA, where space professionals from around the world will see the exhibit. View past contest winning artwork at: Art.SpaceFoundation.org
  • Winning artwork will also be displayed at the Space Foundation headquarters and Discovery Center in Colorado Springs.
  • All winners receive international exposure — digital images of past winners’ artwork have been sent to the International Space Station and displayed throughout China in 2018 as part of a national art exhibition by the Chinese Society of Astronautics (CSA).

How to Enter

All artwork must be submitted electronically at Art.SpaceFoundation.org by a teacher, parent or legal guardian, 18 years or older. For general contest questions, contact the Space Foundation at ArtContest@SpaceFoundation.org.

Due to the high volume of entries, we are unable to contact each participant regarding contest status. Please watch Art.SpaceFoundation.orgfor details and announcements.

About Firefly Aerospace

Firefly is developing a family of launch vehicles to provide industry-leading affordability, convenience and reliability for dedicated light to medium lift launches. Firefly’s Alpha and Beta vehicles utilize common technologies, manufacturing infrastructure and launch capabilities, providing LEO launch solutions for up to one and four metric tons of payload respectively. Alpha and Beta will provide the space industry with access to frequent launches at the lowest cost/kg, enabling ambitious commercial and exploration missions from LEO to the Moon. Headquartered in Cedar Park, Tex., Firefly has additional presence in Washington, D.C., Dnipro, Ukraine, and Tokyo, Japan. Firefly is financed by Noosphere Ventures of Menlo Park, Calif.

About the Space Foundation

Founded in 1983, the Space Foundation is a 501(c)(3) and the world’s premier organization to inspire, educate, connect, and advocate on behalf of the global space community. It is a nonprofit leader in space awareness activities, educational programs, and major industry events, including the annual Space Symposium. Space Foundation headquarters is in Colorado Springs, Colo., USA, and has a public Discovery Center, including El Pomar Space Gallery, Northrop Grumman Science Center featuring Science On a Sphere® and the Lockheed Martin Space Education Center. The Space Foundation has a Washington, D.C., office and field representatives in Houston and the Florida Space Coast. It publishes The Space Report: The Authoritative Guide to Global Space Activity, and through its Space CertificationTM and Space Technology Hall of Fame® programs, recognizes space-based innovations that have been adapted to improve life on Earth. Visit both of our websites – www.SpaceFoundation.org and DiscoverSpace.org – and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube.

Firefly Aerospace Announces Formation of Advisory Board

CEDAR PARK, Texas, July 23, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Firefly Aerospace, Inc. (Firefly), a developer of orbital launch vehicles for the small to medium satellite market, announced today the formation of an all-star advisory board. Members of the board act as ambassadors and advocates of Firefly and support the executive and management teams through consultation and strategic analysis. Initial appointments to the Firefly board are Jeff Bingham, Robert M. Lightfoot, Jr., George Nield, and William F. Readdy.

Jeff Bingham brings nearly 40 years of governmental experience to Firefly. Instrumental in shaping space station policy, he served most recently as the senior advisor on space for the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. He was previously the associate administrator for NASA’s Office of Legislative Affairs. Jeff played a key role in ensuring continued congressional support for the ISS as the legislative coordinator for the International Space Station program.

Robert M. Lightfoot, Jr. had a long and distinguished NASA career. Currently the President of LSINC in Huntsville, AL, Robert served as the Associate Administrator and Chief Operating Officer of NASA, the Agency’s highest ranking civil servant, from 2012 until his retirement in 2018. During that time, he also served as the longest running Acting Administrator in NASA history from January 2017 until April 2018. Prior to his appointment, Robert held other prominent positions, including Director of the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center and Manager of the NASA Space Shuttle Propulsion Office.

George Nield has played a critical role in opening space to private industry. As head of the Federal Aviation Administration’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation, he was responsible for ensuring public safety during all commercial launches and reentries. Previously, George served as manager of the Space Shuttle program flight integration office at NASA Johnson Space Center and as Senior Scientist at the Orbital Sciences Corporation. He holds a Ph.D. in Aeronautics and Astronautics and is a Flight Test Engineering graduate of the United States Air Force Test Pilot School.

William F. Readdy is a veteran astronaut who flew on Space Shuttle missions STS-42, STS-51 and STS-79. He served as NASA Associate Administrator for Space Flight Operations, which had oversight for the Johnson, Kennedy, Marshall and Stennis Space Centers as well as program oversight for International Space Station, Space Shuttle, Space Communications and Space Launch Vehicles. Following retirement from NASA in 2005, Readdy has served on the boards of several publicly traded, non-profits and aerospace and technology startups, and served as a chairman of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at Wallops Island, Virginia until 2016.

Firefly CEO Dr. Tom Markusic said, “We are thrilled to have Jeff, Robert, George, and William join our Firefly team. In addition to their depth and breadth of experience, advisory board members were selected for their desire to become deeply involved in all aspects of the Firefly development program. We expect them to challenge our assumptions and help Firefly avoid the many pitfalls on the path to space. These changemakers have had a huge impact on our industry. Their experience will bring Firefly to a new level and help us to fulfill our mission of providing the reliable, convenient, and frequent access to space that our customers critically require.”

ABOUT FIREFLY AEROSPACE

Firefly is developing a family of launch vehicles to provide industry-leading affordability, convenience and reliability for dedicated light to medium lift launches. Firefly’s Alpha and Beta vehicles utilize common technologies, manufacturing infrastructure and launch capabilities, providing LEO launch solutions for up to one and four metric tons of payload respectively. Alpha and Beta will provide the space industry with access to frequent launches at the lowest cost/kg, enabling ambitious commercial and exploration missions from LEO to the Moon. Headquartered in Cedar Park, TX, Firefly has additional presence in Washington, D.C., Dnipro, Ukraine, and Tokyo, Japan. Firefly is financed by Noosphere Ventures of Menlo Park, CA.