ASTRA and Firefly Aerospace Forge Secret Manufacturing Deal28th Sep 2021
The space industry and rocket launch market is growing ever larger, with small and large companies manufacturing space tech and launching satellites into Earth’s Orbit at a rapid rate. It seems everybody is trying to grab a piece of the ‘space pie.’
ASTRA signs deal with Firefly Aerospace to manufacture their Reaver rockets in-house
ASTRA is a small launch company that was established in 2016 as part of the new rocket launch startups craze going on in the past five years. The company managed to reach space (but not quite orbit) during its second rocket launch attempt last year, a feat that is remarkable considering how most small aerospace startups never reach this stage.
The news regarding the joint manufacturing deal between ASTRA and Firefly Aerospace comes as no surprise: there have been a lot of smaller launch companies consolidating in order to stay relevant in the growing industry. Regarding the deal specifics, Firefly Aerospace will deliver 50 Reaver rocket engines to ASTRA’s factory, located in California. Combining both companies’ technological assets will allow ASTRA to reach the promised “500kg to 500km” goal. This will allow the company to send out 500kg of satellites as part of mega-constellations.
Both ASTRA and Firefly Aerospace representatives have declined to share information regarding their IP agreement. All that is known is that both companies want to avoid competing against each other.
The future of space exploration and rocket launches seems to be within company consolidation
While giant companies such as SpaceX and Blue Origin are busy sending tourists into space, smaller launch companies are struggling to find contracts. Collaboration between smaller companies seems to be the logical next step in order to stay relevant in a growing market — over 100 small launch companies have been founded since 2015. Carissa Christensen, the founder of BryceTech, openly said that smaller companies would either learn to work together or go out of business.
“It’s a high-risk business,” she said.
The ASTRA/Firefly Aerospace combined rocket launch is scheduled for 2022.