Firefly Aerospace has announced a global competition that will award payload capacity on the company’s maiden Alpha flight free of charge.
The Dedicated Research and Education Accelerator Mission (DREAM) is part of Firefly’s “philanthropic commitment to STEM”. According to Firefly CEO Dr. Tom Markusic, the competition will be open to a wide range of entrants from startup companies to “a child’s drawing”. However, the competition page does outline a fairly extensive list of technical guidelines and a list of four “ideal candidates”.
“‘Making Space for Everyone’ has been an essential part of Firefly’s vision and dream since the day we began,” said Dr. Markusic. “I’m proud to announce today that we’re following through on that commitment by opening a competition, to literally everyone, for the use of the excess capacity of our first Alpha launch.”
The maximum payload capacity of a Firefly Alpha is around 1,000 kilograms (2,204 pounds) to low Earth orbit. The DREAM payload is expected to only fill a portion of that capacity. It is as yet unclear what the rest of the available capacity will be used for. Firefly has already secured contracts to provide launch services to several customers. However, one would assume that paying customers would be wary about placing their payloads aboard an untested launch vehicle.