Just two years after filing for bankruptcy, private launch provider Firefly Aerospace has announced plans to build a mass production facility and a launch site at the historic Cape Canaveral Air Force Base.
Firefly Space Systems was founded in January 2014 by former SpaceX rocket test facility manager, Dr. Tom Markusic. In July of the same year, the company revealed the design of their first launch vehicle, the Firefly Alpha with an initial test launch planned for 2016. However, in October 2016, Firefly Space Systems retrenched its entire workforce and filed for bankruptcy.
In March 2017, Firefly Aerospace was formed by Noosphere Ventures, an international asset management firm that purchased the assets of the Firefly Space Systems. In addition to relaunching the company, Noosphere Ventures committed to funding it through its first two launches of the two-stage Alpha rocket.
Over the next two years, Firefly Aerospace completed hot-fire tests of its first and second stage engines, opened a research and development center in Ukraine, and was selected by NASA for the agencies Commercial Lunar Payload Services program.
On February 22 Firefly Aerospace announced plans to construct a mass production facility and a launch site at Cape Canaveral’s Space Launch Complex 20. According to Firefly CEO, Dr. Tom Markusic, the production facility will be capable of producing 24 Alpha rockets a year. These rockets will be launched from the Cape and currently unconfirmed additional launch facilities.
“Firefly Aerospace is proud to be the newest member of the Florida Space Coast family,” said Markusic. “Our mass production manufacturing facility in Exploration Park will enable Firefly to produce 24 Alpha vehicles a year, enabling a launch cadence that will support a rapidly expanding global small satellite revolution and the commercialization of cislunar space.”
The launch of the first Firefly Alpha rocket is expected later this year.