Firefly team completed orbital insertion, payload deployment, second stage relight, and orbital plane change

VANDENBERG SPACE FORCE BASE, Calif., – July 4, 2024 – Firefly Aerospace, an end-to-end space transportation company, today announced it successfully launched its Alpha Flight 5 (FLTA005) rocket and completed the payload deployment sequence as part of the company’s Venture-Class Launch Services Demonstration 2 (VCLS Demo 2) contract with NASA.

The mission, called Noise of Summer, lifted off from Firefly’s SLC-2 launch site at the Vandenberg Space Force Base at 9:04 p.m. PDT on July 3, 2024. Following payload deployment, Firefly successfully performed a second stage relight and plane change maneuver to further test and validate Alpha’s on-orbit capabilities.

“The Firefly team knocked it out of the park,” said Bill Weber, CEO of Firefly Aerospace. “As a NASA vendor for both launch and lunar services, we look forward to continuing this partnership and supporting the agency’s larger space exploration goals from Earth to the Moon and beyond.”

As a NASA VCLS Demo 2 task order, the successful mission further validates Alpha’s capabilities to provide small satellite launches for NASA on a recurring basis. The mission’s CubeSats were selected through NASA’s CubeSat Launch Initiative (CSLI) that provides U.S. educational institutions and nonprofits with low-cost access to space.

“The launch of Firefly Aerospace’s demonstration mission marks one more way NASA is innovating for the benefit of humanity,” said Hamilton Fernandez, mission manager for NASA’s Launch Services Program. “NASA is using CubeSat missions to demonstrate the capability of small rockets and build relationships with this new part of the U.S. launch vehicle industry.”

At the time of this release, ongoing activities are underway by NASA and the CubeSat teams as they work to acquire signals for all satellites. Additional updates will be posted to the mission webpage.

Looking ahead, Firefly is in the final testing phase for its next Alpha launch, FLTA006, in support of a dedicated commercial mission for Lockheed Martin. The Firefly team is concurrently ramping up for a responsive on-orbit Elytra mission that will launch on Alpha FLTA007 later this year while also working to complete the final readiness milestones for its first Blue Ghost mission to the Moon launching in Q4 2024.

About Firefly Aerospace

Firefly Aerospace is an end-to-end space transportation company with launch, lunar, and on-orbit services. Headquartered in central Texas, Firefly is a portfolio company of AE Industrial Partners (“AEI”) focused on delivering responsive, reliable, and affordable space access for government and commercial customers. Firefly’s small- to medium-lift launch vehicles, lunar landers, and orbital vehicles provide the space industry with a single source for missions from low Earth orbit to the surface of the Moon and beyond. For more information, visit www.fireflyspace.com.

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Rendering of Firefly's Alpha rocket on Pad-0A on Wallops, Island
Firefly Alpha FLTA005 Static Fire