Firefly Alpha is designed to address the needs of the burgeoning small-satellite market. Alpha combines the highest payload performance with the lowest cost per kilogram to orbit in its vehicle class. Capable of delivering 1 metric ton to Low Earth Orbit (LEO) and 600 kg to the highly desirable 500 KM Sun-Synchronous Orbit (SSO), Alpha will provide launch options for both full vehicle and ride share customers.

Alpha will launch twice per month, a launch cadence that will enable customers to fly according to their schedule and to the orbit they desire.

Additional specifications for the Firefly Alpha can be found in the Payload User’s Guide.

Performance
Payload LEO / 1,000 kg (LEO 28.5°, 200 km)
Payload SSO / 630 kg (SSO, 500 km)
Propulsion: Stage 1
Engine / 4X Reaver 1
Propellant / LOX / RP-1
Propellant Feed / Turbopump
Combustors / 4
Thrust (vac) / 736.1 kN (165,482 lbf)
lsp (vac) / 295.6 seconds
Propulsion: Stage 2
Engine / Lightning 1
Propellant / LOX / RP-1
Propellant Feed / Turbopump
Combustors / 1
Thrust (vac) / 70.1 kN (15,759 lbf)
lsp (vac) / 322.0 sec
Dimensions
Stage 1 Diameter / 1.8 m (6 ft)
Stage 2 Diameter / 1.8 m (6 ft)
Payload Fairing Diameter / 2 m (6.6 ft)
Overall Length / 29 m (95 ft)

Propulsion

Alpha utilizes well established propulsion technology. Both stages use common designs: copper regen-cooled LOx/RP-1 thrust chambers, a simple tap-off cycle which drives single shaft turbopumps, nozzle-mounted turbine exhaust manifolds, and hydraulic actuators. Innovations in Firefly engines include our simple “Crossfire” injector, tap-off geometry, dual-mounted electrically actuated, trimmable propellant main valves, and ultra-compact horizontal turbopump mounting. The upper stage engine, “Lightning,” includes a turbine-exhaust cooled refractory metal high area ratio nozzle extension. The first stage “Reaver” engines feature simple single axis gimballing. Consistent with the overall Alpha vehicle design, cost and performance are traded and optimized in Lightning and Reaver components to provide the best payload performance value.

Structures

Firefly utilizes advanced carbon-fiber composites for the entire airframe of Alpha, including the state-of-the-art, linerless, cryogenic propellant tanks. Composite materials are ideally suited to launch vehicle structures due to their high strength, low density and tailorable material properties. This allows Firefly Alpha to lift heavier payloads than a similar metal rocket.

Avionics

Firefly Avionics hardware utilizes a combination of custom designed state-of-the-art and Commercial Off the Shelf (COTS) components. 

Data Acquisition is accomplished using a rugged, modular Data Acquisition Chassis, which provides analog to digital conversion of all sensor data, and further packages the data and transmits to the Flight Computer via an onboard Ethernet network.

The Flight Computer incorporates all vehicle telemetry and transmits data along with video to various Earth ground stations along the flight trajectory, for the duration of the flight.

Launch

Firefly will provide a great customer experience from your initial contact with our business development team to working with your dedicated payload manager. As the program progresses the focus will switch to working with our experienced launch site operations team to support your spacecraft processing needs.

Firefly launch sites will provide our customers with a wide range of orbit options to best fit their overall business objectives. Firefly launch site facilities support both dedicated launch vehicle customers and multiple manifest customers.

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