Firefly launched a full-time second tier fire on his rocket in April 2019.  Edwards Media
One of the questions every company faces when launching a new rocket is what to rely on the booster. After all, it can sometimes come to an explosion during take-off flights . So the first flight of a rocket usually serves as a demonstration mission to prove through an actual test flight that all of a company's model and ground tests were correct. With SpaceX, Elon Musk's cherry red Tesla Roadster became famous for its first flight with the Falcon Heavy rocket.
Despite a sometimes bizarre payload, first flights demonstrate a range of capabilities to potential customers. (In the case of the Falcon Heavy, the upper stage of the rocket performed a six-hour spacecraft in space before the upper stage was fired again to demonstrate the ability to inject key US military satellites directly into geostationary space.)
As rocket company Firefly, based in Austin, Texas, approaches the maiden flight of its Alpha rocket, the company is also about to make such a payload decision. It has one (not mentioned) customer for the flight, but the small rocket launcher also has an unused capacity for the mission ̵
1; the Alpha rocket is about twice as buoyant as an existing competitor, the Rocket Lab's electronic vehicle.
So, on Monday. Firefly announced that it will accept some academic and educational payloads for the Alpha Flight for free. "We wanted to do something like that from the beginning on our first flight," said Markusic. The payloads will fly at an inclination of 97 degrees to a 300 km long circular path.
Space for All
The initiative is part of Firefly's efforts to make space for everyone more affordable, said company founder Tom Markusic in an interview with Ars. As part of this DREAM program – the Dedicated Research and Education Accelerator Mission – The company accepts everything from children's drawings to college experiments or even a startup's CubeSat. Applications will be accepted until the end of June 2019.
By manifesting a commercial customer along with several other private payloads, Firefly will be able to demonstrate from the outset the ability to "share" missions, "said Markusic. In this way, several commercial customers could fly on missions in the future.
Markusic also released an update on the development of Alpha. In April, the company carried out an endurance test of the integrated second stage of the rocket. A configuration of this second stage that is 97 percent airborne will be tested by the end of June. The company is also working on full-scale testing of the Reaver 1 engines to power the first stage of the Alpha rocket, and integrated tier tests should begin in late August or early September.
He admitted to pushing for a start in December from California's Vandeberg Air Force Base is aggressive and this requires the company to adhere to a tight schedule with milestones. A start in December is objectively feasible. In the past, however, Markusic found that there are often problems with stage testing and other activities that can delay the start date.