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Firefly opens first launch of Alpha missile for academic and educational purposes



  Firefly completed the full duration of the second phase of its rocket in April, 2019
Enlarge / Firefly completed the full duration of the second phase of its missile in April, 2019

Edwards Media

One of the issues facing each company as it brings a new rocket to the market is what to put on the top of the booster. After all, things can sometimes go all explode with introductory flights. So the first flight of each missile usually serves as demonstration missions to prove through a real test flight that all company models and ground testing are correct. SpaceX delivered the black red Tesla Roadster to Elon Musk on the first Falcon Heavy rocket flight.

Although sometimes the capricious payload, the first flights demonstrate a number of potential customers. (In the case of Falcon Heavy, the upper rocket performs a six-hour coastline before the engine in the above stage is triggered to demonstrate the ability to directly inject geospatial key satellites into the US military). As the Firefly rocket company in Austin, Texas, is approaching the first flight on its Alfa, the company is also facing such a decision. He has a (unrecognized) flight client, but the small starter also has unused capacity for the mission ̵

1; the Alpha missile is about twice as bigger than the existing competitor, a Rocket Lab electronic car.

So on Monday, Firefly announced it would accept free of charge academic and educational data on the Alpha flight. "We wanted to do something like that on our first flight from the very beginning," Marcusic said. This is useful for a 300-kilometer circular orbit with a gradient of 97 degrees.

A place for everyone

The initiative is part of Firefly's effort to make space more accessible to everyone, said founder Tom McMarkusic in an interview with Ars. As part of this DREAM program – this is a special mission to explore and accelerate education – the company will accept everything from child painting to experimenting at college or even CubeSat to a startup company. Applications will be accepted by the end of June, 2019.

As a joint-venture merchant along with several other private cargoes, Firefly will be able to demonstrate the capability of "riding" missions from the outset, Marcusic said. This will allow many commercial customers to fly on missions in the future.

Marcouches also provided up-to-date information on the development of Alpha. In April, the company performed a full test of the integrated second stage of the rocket. The configuration of this second stage, which is "97 percent similar to a flight", will be tested by the end of June. The company is also working on full tests of the Reaver 1 engines that will power the first stage of the Alpha rocket, and the integrated stage tests should begin by the end of August or the beginning of September. Force Base is aggressive and that to become a company, it must meet a strict schedule of stages. Objectively, launching in December is feasible. Historically, however, Marcusich said he realizes that problems often occur during stage tests and other activities that have the potential to slow start dates.


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