NRO Contracts Firefly, Xtenti for Responsive Space Mission Written 9 August 2023


Firefly Alpha lifts off the pad at Vandenberg Space Force Base, Sept. 2, 2021. | Credit: Jacob Rendon; Wikipedia; CC BY-SA 4.0

Aviation Week reports Firefly Aerospace is “parlaying technology” developed for its “Alpha launch vehicle and Blue Ghost lunar lander with expertise acquired through its purchase of Spaceflight into a new business line focused on in-space services, with the National Reconnaissance Office.” Space News reports that on Tuesday, NRO “announced a contract with Firefly Aerospace and Xtenti for a responsive space mission.” The NRO mission is “scheduled to launch on a Firefly Alpha launch vehicle in 2024,” and will “demonstrate multiple on-orbit deployments with Firefly’s Elytra orbital vehicle and Xtenti’s Fantm-Ride small satellite dispenser.” Elytra will “deploy commercial rideshare payloads with Fantm-Ride, before performing an on-orbit maneuver.” After the maneuver, Elytra “will remain in orbit on standby, prepared to deploy U.S. government payloads on-demand.”
Full Story (Aviation Week); More Info (Space News)