Credit: Firefly Aerospace

Cedar Park, Texas, January 25, 2024 – Firefly Aerospace, Inc., an end-to-end space transportation company, today 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.

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.

Source: Firefly Aerospace

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Kris Christiaens

This article was published by FutureSpaceFlight founder and chief editor Kris Christiaens. Kris Christiaens has been passionate and fascinated by spaceflight and space exploration all his life and has written hundreds of articles on space projects, the commercial space industry and space missions over the past 20 years for magazines, books and websites. In late 2021, he founded the website FutureSpaceFlight with the goal of promoting new space companies and commercial space projects and compiling news of these start-ups and companies on one website.