Firefly Aerospace Rocket Launch Mission Set to Take Place Soon

13th Nov 2020
Firefly Alpha Rocket

The small satellite launching market is currently booming and companies are working tirelessly to meet the requirements. Some companies like Firefly Aerospace are miles ahead and gearing up for a rocket launch soon. The company has managed to send a complete launch vehicle to the VAFB (Vandenberg Air Force Base) located in California. 

They have set 22nd December 2020 as the date to launch the spacecraft from the site. The rocket, known as Alpha, operates in two stages and during this mission, will carry small satellites into a lower orbit. 

The DREAM (Dedicated Research and Education Accelerator Mission) by Firefly Aerospace Set for Its First Rocket Launch

The DREAM mission by Firefly Aerospace is to conduct its first rocket launch from the VAFB on 22nd December 2020. The rocket, known as Alpha, is 95 feet in length when fully assembled. What is significant about this vehicle is that it can carry an extraordinary 1.63 tons of payload into orbit in the form of small satellites. 

Aerospace wants the Alpha to deliver 1000kg of the payload into a lower earth orbit at about 200km. As for the remaining cargo of 630kg, the goal is to reach 500km into a sun-synchronous orbit. 

With such an ambitious launch mission, it’s no wonder that the rocket  will use four 1st-stage engines. In addition, it has a single 2nd stage engine, and all of them use LOX (Liquid Oxygen) and RP-1 kerosene as fuel. 

The company has additionally featured its unique injection system for propellant (Crossfire) together with a tab-off combustion cycle. There’s a mechanism for routing the hot gases from the combustion area to the turbo turbines before being depleted. The propellant chambers and the entire structure of this rocket are made using carbon fibre composites. 

This is essential as these composites are the best when building smallsat launchers. The material is quite strong and also benefits from lower density. Another company known to utilize similar mechanisms is Rocket Lab, who have already conducted several successful launches. 

Firefly Aerospace’s successful rocket launch is their current mission, as the company is yet to successfully send a rocket into space. However, after encouraging tests on the numerous Alpha components, a launch mission is now imminent. 

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