“Noise of Summer”: Firefly successfully launched a rocket carrying NASA payload

On July 4, Firefly Aerospace launched the Alpha small rocket from the Vandenberg Space Center. As part of the Noise of Summer mission, it successfully launched eight satellites into orbit on behalf of NASA.

Alpha rocket launch from Vandenberg Space Center. Source: Firefly Aerospace/@TrevorMahlmann

The Noise of Summer mission was a so-called quick-launch operation. Its main task was to demonstrate the company’s ability to prepare the Alpha rocket in a timely manner. Firefly Aerospace specialists delivered the payload fairing to the launch pad and connected it to the carrier just 14 hours before the scheduled launch. This process usually takes a few weeks.

Originally, Alpha was scheduled to launch on July 2. However, it was canceled seconds before the engines were ignited due to problems with ground equipment. A second attempt scheduled for July 3 was also canceled due to the company’s decision to conduct additional data analysis.

In the end, the launch took place on July 4. Alpha successfully completed its mission, placing into sun-synchronous orbit eight cubesats selected by NASA as part of the CSLI initiative. It provides satellite developers from U.S. educational institutions and nonprofit organizations the opportunity to launch their vehicles into space inexpensively.

Alpha rocket on the launch pad. Source: Firefly Aerospace

This success is very important for Firefly Aerospace. The company has clearly demonstrated the ability to provide a rapid space launch service. It also showed the increased reliability of the Alpha rocket. During its previous mission in December 2023, the launcher delivered cargo to a lower orbit than the flight plan had predicted.

As a reminder, Firefly Aerospace was founded in 2014. It went bankrupt in 2017, after which it was rescued by Ukrainian entrepreneur and philanthropist Max Polyakov. Subsequently, the company managed to put the Alpha rocket into service and obtained a number of lucrative contracts. It is currently in talks to sell Firefly for $1.5 billion

According to ksby.com