Firefly’s Miranda Engine Passes First Hot Fire Test29th Nov 2023
On 28th November, Firefly Aerospace successfully concluded the preliminary hot fire test for its Miranda engine. This engine is scheduled to power the initial stage of the Antares 330 rocket, as well as the Medium Launch Vehicle (MLV). Both machines were developed through a collaboration between Firefly Aerospace and Northrop Grumman. This marks a significant milestone for Firefly Aerospace, as the test was conducted just over a year after the initial contract signing.
Miranda engine test successful: What’s next
The recent test of the turbopump-powered engine is a significant step in validating the architecture of Miranda’s start-up procedure, transient conditions, and the combustion tap-off cycle on a bigger scale.
Moving forward with the process, the Firefly team plans to perform a complete-length hot fire that will last 206 seconds. Upon completion, a total of seven Miranda engines, each capable of producing a total of 1.6 million lbf, will be used to power the first stage of the Antares 330 rocket and Medium Launch Vehicle.
Additionally, one Miranda vacuum-powered engine will be used to power the MLV’s second stage with a thrust of 200,000 lbf.
Firefly Aerospace expands production capabilities
Apart from the Miranda Engines, Firefly is also working on the initial stage structures for Antares 330 and the structures and hydraulic systems for both the MLV stages. To aid in the production of these vehicles, the firm is expanding its facilities at its Briggs, Texas site and incorporating new automated manufacturing equipment. Recently, Firefly’s AFP (Automated Fiber Placement) system became operational, enabling the firm to produce carbon composite barrels in days instead of weeks.
The Antares 330 is set to launch over 10,000 kg to the ISS during its maiden flight in mid-2025. Its successor, the MLV, will launch later that year and will be able to transport over 16,000 kg to low Earth orbit. Moreover, the MLV’s 5-meter class payload fairing can be adjusted to meet the varying needs of its customers.