Credit: Firefly Aerospace

Cedar Park, Texas, November 8, 2023 – Firefly Aerospace, Inc., an end-to-end space transportation company, today announced a new agreement with Fleet Space Technologies, an Australian space exploration firm, to deliver and operate Fleet’s Seismic Payload for Interplanetary Discovery, Exploration, and Research (SPIDER) on the far side of the Moon. In addition to payloads from NASA and the European Space Agency, the Australian-backed SPIDER payload will fly on Firefly’s Blue Ghost lander as part of Firefly’s second lunar mission in 2026.

“The Firefly team welcomes Fleet Space on our far side lunar mission that will serve as a critical building block for future human and robotic missions to come,” said Bill Weber, CEO of Firefly Aerospace. “Firefly proudly supports the growing lunar economy across the United States, Europe, and now Australia, and we invite additional Artemis Accords nations to join us as we collectively build a sustainable presence on the Moon.”

Fleet Space’s SPIDER payload is part of the Australian Space Agency’s Moon to Mars initiative that’s aligned with NASA’s Artemis program to support future habitation on the Moon. Upon deployment of the payload, Firefly’s Blue Ghost lunar lander will provide ongoing power and communications, enabling SPIDER to capture seismic data from the lunar surface for up to 14 days. This data will offer insights into the geological properties of the lunar subsurface and its mineral profile, such as water ice, that can support lunar infrastructure and further regolith exploration.

“Fleet is thrilled to contribute our passive seismic SPIDER technology to Firefly’s lunar mission to advance fundamental research into the Moon’s regolith,” said Matt Pearson, Co-Founder and Chief Exploration Officer at Fleet Space Technologies. “Any infrastructure built on other worlds will depend on a deep understanding of the in-situ subsurface composition – and we’re honored to collaborate with the international community to help unlock critical insights for sustaining human life beyond Earth.”

In addition to SPIDER, Firefly’s second lunar mission will deliver the European Space Agency’s Lunar Pathfinder satellite to lunar orbit and NASA’s LuSEE-Night radio telescope to the lunar surface as part of the NASA Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) initiative. The mission’s two-stage spacecraft design, utilizing Firefly’s Blue Ghost lunar lander stacked on Firefly’s Elytra orbital vehicle, provides robust versatility for both surface and orbital deliveries in support of growing international lunar infrastructure.

Firefly has already completed the preliminary design review for Blue Ghost Mission 2 less than six months after its NASA CLPS award. Firefly is concurrently wrapping up the final milestones for its first mission to the Moon in 2024, and most recently completed the development and assembly of Blue Ghost’s structure and fluid systems.

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’s small- to medium-lift launch vehicles, lunar landers, and orbital vehicles provide the space industry with a single source for missions from low Earth orbit to the surface of the Moon and beyond.

About Fleet Space Technologies

Fleet Space Technologies, a leading Australian space company, is revolutionizing humanity’s search for critical minerals, space exploration, and defense with its satellite-enabled solutions and seismic array technology (EXOSPHERE BY FLEET®). Headquartered at the national center of Australia’s space industry in Adelaide, Fleet has expanded its global footprint to the US, Canada, Chile, and Luxembourg with over 100+ employees worldwide.

Source: Firefly Aerospace

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Kris Christiaens

This article was published by FutureSpaceFlight founder and chief editor Kris Christiaens. Kris Christiaens has been passionate and fascinated by spaceflight and space exploration all his life and has written hundreds of articles on space projects, the commercial space industry and space missions over the past 20 years for magazines, books and websites. In late 2021, he founded the website FutureSpaceFlight with the goal of promoting new space companies and commercial space projects and compiling news of these start-ups and companies on one website.