Firefly Launches VICTUS NOX With 24-Hour Notice15th Sep 2023
On 13th September 2023, the American aerospace company Firefly Aerospace successfully launched its Alpha rocket as part of the Victus Nox mission, commissioned by the United States Space Force (USSF). The company had only 24 hours to complete the final payload operations and preparations before the mission.
Firefly’s VICTUS NOX Mission
The mission, called VICTUS NOX, which means “conquer the night” in Latin, aimed to show that the United States can put a satellite in space fast if there’s ever a security issue. Firefly got the mission contract in October 2022 as part of the Orbital Services Program 4.
According to the plan, Firefly had specific tasks to complete within certain timeframes set by the USSF. For instance, they had 60 hours of advance notice to prepare and attach the VICTUS NOX payload to the Alpha rocket before taking it to the launch pad. Then, 24 hours before liftoff, they received another notice specifying when the rocket could launch and the path it should follow in space.
In total, it took 27 hours from receiving the launch order to sending the spacecraft into space. VICTUS NOX was successfully placed into a low Earth orbit. However, the testing didn’t end there. Now, Millennium Space needs to perform a full check of all the spacecraft’s systems, after which it will start capturing images of the Earth’s surface and transmitting them back to Earth. According to the testing rules, the company has 48 hours to complete this task.
What do we know about the Firefly Alpha’s payload?
The Firefly Alpha is a lightweight class launch vehicle that can carry payloads up to 2,866 pounds. The payload for the VICTUS NOX mission was made by Millennium Space, which is part of The Boeing Company. There isn’t much information available about the satellite, but we do know that it will be used for space domain awareness. This means it will keep track of other objects in space and predict if there might be any potential threats in its orbit.
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 Aerospace, the brainchild of Ukrainian entrepreneur Max Polyakov, has come a long way since its inception. In 2017, the company was on the brink of bankruptcy but was saved by Polyakov who saw potential in the innovative ideas and dedication of the original team. Since then, Firefly has successfully launched several missions, each contributing significantly to the advancement of space technology.