FIREFLY AEROSPACE COMPLETES BLUE GHOST LUNAR LANDER STRUCTURE AHEAD OF MOON LANDING FOR NASA

Credit: Firefly Aerospace

Cedar Park, Texas, October 4, 2023 – Firefly Aerospace, an end-to-end space transportation company, today announced it completed the development and assembly of its Blue Ghost lander structure and fluid systems, a critical milestone for Firefly’s first lunar mission slated to land on the Moon in 2024 as part of NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) initiative. This mission is one of three task orders Firefly has won under NASA CLPS, accounting for more than $230 million in awards.

“The Firefly team is extremely passionate and dedicated to overcoming any challenge knowing the important role these missions will have in paving the way for the future of space exploration and our nation’s growing lunar economy,” said Bill Weber, CEO of Firefly Aerospace. “It’s an exciting accomplishment to see our Blue Ghost lander assembled in Firefly’s Texas spacecraft facility as we get ready to land on the Moon next year.” Firefly’s ability to rapidly design, build, and test its Blue Ghost lunar lander can be credited to its in-house manufacturing and test facilities. The lander’s core components, including the panels, struts, legs, harnesses, avionics, batteries, and thrusters, were designed and built in-house using many of the same flight-proven technologies common to all of Firefly’s launch and orbital vehicles. The team conducted extensive qualification testing on the assembled Blue Ghost structure and each component to ensure the lander will withstand all launch, transit, and landing load cases.

“Firefly is able to have more control over our mission schedules and less dependency on the supply chain thanks to our in-house manufacturing capabilities and facilities that accommodate the development of multiple landers,” said Jana Spruce, Vice President of Spacecraft at Firefly Aerospace. “Our vertically integrated approach with shared components across our vehicles further enables scaled efficiencies, lower costs, and quality assurance that we pass on to our customers.” Blue Ghost Mission 1 will carry commercial and government payloads, including 10 NASA-sponsored instruments, to Mare Crisium on the Moon’s near side. The payloads support NASA’s goal to build a sustainable lunar presence by conducting several first-of-its-kind demonstrations, including testing regolith sample collection, Global Navigation Satellite System abilities, radiation tolerant computing, and lunar dust mitigation. Nearly all of the payloads have been processed at Firefly’s facility and successfully passed fit checks and functional checkouts on the lander.

The next major milestones for Blue Ghost Mission 1 include payload integration followed by environmental testing before the mission launches in 2024. Concurrently, Firefly is ramping up for its second lunar mission, Blue Ghost Mission 2, that will first deploy a satellite to lunar orbit and then deliver multiple payloads to the far side of the Moon in 2026. Mission 2 has remaining capacity to offer payload delivery and orbital services for commercial customers.

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.

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.