TX: Firefly Aerospace Added as Launch Provider for National Reconnaissance Office with Alpha Rocket | Trade and Industry Development

TX: Firefly Aerospace Added as Launch Provider for National Reconnaissance Office with Alpha Rocket

Mar 04, 2024
New contract qualifies Firefly's Alpha rocket to launch satellites for the NRO from both Vandenberg and Cape Canaveral.

Firefly Aerospace, Inc., an end-to-end space transportation company, announced it was selected by the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) to serve as a launch provider with Firefly's Alpha rocket. As part of the NRO's Streamlined Launch Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity Contract (SLIC), the agreement has a 10-year ordering period with a ceiling value of $700 million across all firm fixed-price task orders.

"Firefly is ready to support the NRO's responsive space needs as we continue to advance our rapid launch operations capability," said Bill Weber, CEO of Firefly Aerospace. "In order to support the increased demand for Alpha launches, we've doubled the size of our facilities, implemented automated carbon composite technologies, and fine-tuned our operations to rapidly produce, test, and launch in response to our customers' urgent mission needs."

The SLIC program was established by the NRO's Office of Space Launch to leverage commercial best practices for responsive space missions and encourage competition among emerging launch providers. SLIC is open to U.S. launch vehicles with a proven orbital record and allows providers to bid dedicated, rideshare, or multi-manifest launch services.

As a SLIC provider, Firefly is able to compete for NRO launches with its Alpha rocket, capable of lifting more than 1,000 kg to low Earth orbit from the Vandenberg Space Force Base and the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. Firefly minimizes launch costs and increases reliability and responsiveness by utilizing robust in-house manufacturing capabilities, sharing components across its vehicles, and leveraging innovative technologies, such as carbon composite sandwich structures and patented tap-off cycle propulsion systems.

Firefly's next Alpha launch for NASA is on track for early 2024. The company will also support a responsive on-orbit mission for the NRO onboard Firefly's Elytra vehicle in 2024.

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