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Firefly Aerospace Discussion Thread


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So, remember Firefly Space Systems, the smallsat company that went bankrupt a while back? Well, they were "bought" by a new investor who is willing to fund at least $100M of rocket development. Their new design is aiming for 1000kg to LEO and 600kg to SSO and has ditched the aerospike engine for four more traditional engines. They have since test fired their second stage engine and currently plan to conduct their first orbital test in the second half of 2019.

They have also gotten a serious (but not entirely finalized) agreement to take over SLC-2W (west coast) once the final flight of Delta II takes place.

http://spacenews.com/firefly-aerospace-to-take-over-vandenberg-delta-2-pad/

Another smallsat launch provider has hopefully re-entered the game!

Edited by Ultimate Steve
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Just a blatant copy of the Electron

/s

I like how the basic design of the Falcon is everywhere nowadays. 1 booster and 1 upperstage, wich are all the same size in diameter, and most at the time use no more than 2 different rocket engines. Artificial selection!

Edited by NSEP
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2 hours ago, NSEP said:

Just a blatant copy of the Electron

/s

I like how the basic design of the Falcon is everywhere nowadays. 1 booster and 1 upperstage, wich are all the same size in diameter, and most at the time use no more than 2 different rocket engines. Artificial selection!

Convergent evolution, for a given purpose all designs tend towards a single optimum.

On Firefly itself, I remember I tried to build an Alpha analog in KSP 0.22 or thereabouts. A single T800 and aerospike for first stage, a stack of oscar-bs and can't quite remember which tiny engine for second stage. I did not get much further with it because I could not cobble together anything worthwhile (in my mind) for payload.

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I happened to include the Black Arrow in the poster of rockets I put together for my 4yo's birthday, and I was struck by how very small it was. Roughly the same payload as Falcon 1 but barely over half as tall. Kerosene + peroxide has fantastic impulse density even if its Isp sucks.

I'd love to see an aerospike smallsat LV using keroxide on the first stage, a peroxide monoprop circularization stage, and a couple of SRBs to help it get off the ground. Like ARCA but realistic. A composite frame would probably give it a good enough drag coefficient to survive re-entry (especially if it was an aeroplug nozzle) and chute down, since aeroplugs are much sturdier than conventional bells.

Inflatable bladders could be used to make it pressure-fed with peroxide preburner tapoff.

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5 minutes ago, Mad Rocket Scientist said:

What are they burning? That flame looks so bright and torch like, and there's no shock diamonds.

According to the company webpage, they're running a kerolox mix. Not a bad choice for a startup, as SpaceX has handily proven. ;) 

 

Also, per a post on Firefly's Twitter that links to that video:

Alpha second stage “Lightning” engine development test demonstrating steady state operation of pump-fed tap-off cycle engine. Firefly is working toward fully integrated Alpha Stage 2 test soon.

 

 

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12 minutes ago, KerbolExplorer said:

What does SSO mean?

Sun synchronous orbit. It's a polar orbit where, due to the gravitational irregularity of Earth, the orbit will process (not sure if its the right word) once a year, meaning satellites can operate pretty much forever on the day/night terminator, always be in sunlight, and always have a view of Earth where the shadows are at the same angle they were the previous day.

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On 9/18/2018 at 9:40 PM, MaverickSawyer said:

According to the company webpage, they're running a kerolox mix. Not a bad choice for a startup, as SpaceX has handily proven. ;) 

Also, per a post on Firefly's Twitter that links to that video:

Quote

Alpha second stage “Lightning” engine development test demonstrating steady state operation of pump-fed tap-off cycle engine. Firefly is working toward fully integrated Alpha Stage 2 test soon.

 

Tap-off? Interesting! Following BO's lead in cycle even if it's SpaceX/RocketLab in prop choice. Coking will be a problem for that, though, so reuse is unlikely.

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27 minutes ago, Ultimate Steve said:

Sun synchronous orbit. It's a polar orbit where, due to the gravitational irregularity of Earth, the orbit will process (not sure if its the right word) once a year, meaning satellites can operate pretty much forever on the day/night terminator, always be in sunlight, and always have a view of Earth where the shadows are at the same angle they were the previous day.

Only the precession bit is necessary. Riding the day-night terminator is optional for sun-synchronous orbits; you can have one that, for example, stays at around 12:00 AM and PM.

It's mostly about consistent lighting for imaging.

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14 hours ago, Nightside said:

Well they certainly need a new graphic designer before they get sued by Tesla.

Similar, but not.  I don't think they've got anything to worry about.  A thing like this was well researched before used, as were the multitude of other 'Firefly' logos that are out there (Google the name).  Besides, Tesla being in the hole they are currently, they don't have the cash or hope to press suit against anyone.

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