Firefly is set to transport SPIDER to the Moon14th Nov 2023
Firefly Aerospace will be responsible for the transportation and operation of the Fleet’s SPIDER (Seismic Payload for Interplanetary Discovery, Exploration, and Research) on the lunar far side.
Key milestones of SPIDER’s mission
On 8 November, the American aerospace company Firefly Aerospace announced a collaboration with the Australian space exploration firm Fleet Space Technologies.
Once deployed, the lunar lander will ensure continuous power and communication, allowing SPIDER to collect seismic data from the lunar surface over a period of up to 14 days.
Lunar integration: other details of the mission
The SPIDER payload from Fleet Space is integrated into the Moon to Mars initiative of the Australian Space Agency. It aligns with NASA’s Artemis program aimed at facilitating future human presence on the Moon. As part of the NASA Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) initiative, Firefly’s second lunar mission will also transport the European Space Agency’s Lunar Pathfinder satellite into lunar orbit. Simultaneously, it will deliver NASA’s LuSEE-Night radio telescope to the lunar surface.
As stated, Firefly has concluded the preliminary design review for Blue Ghost Mission 2 and is in the process of finalizing the last milestones for its initial Moon mission scheduled for 2024.
Financial benchmark: Firefly’s valuation soars to $1.5 billion
Soon after the announcement of the SPIDER mission, Firefly revealed the closing of another tranche of financing, valuing the company at $1.5 billion pre-money. Led by existing investors like AE Industrial Partners, LP, and new contributors, including Mitsui & Co., Ltd., this funding round brings Firefly’s total funding to approximately $300 million since February 2023.
Bill Weber, CEO of Firefly Aerospace, expressed enthusiasm about the company’s recent achievements, stating, ‘We have been successful at raising funds at an increased valuation in this challenging capital markets environment due to our focus on production and mission execution. Following our most recent success with the groundbreaking launch of the VICTUS NOX mission by the U.S. Space Force, we have seen heightened interest from new investors.’
Firefly’s new contracts and collaborations
In addition to the recent accomplishment of a successful responsive launch, Firefly has secured contracts for various Alpha missions, including one from NASA. The company has finalized a launch agreement with Lockheed Martin and entered into a multi-launch agreement with L3Harris. Within the Blue Ghost Lunar Lander product line, Firefly has garnered multiple contracts from both the U.S. government and commercial entities, including three task orders under NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program.