Launch

Economical Small Satellite Launch

Repeatable Reliability for Your Mission

Offering the highest payload capacity for the lowest cost per kilogram in its vehicle class, Alpha is the world’s most advanced 1,000 kg small satellite launch vehicle.

Using tried and true, flight-proven rocket technologies, Alpha is 100% manufactured in the USA and designed to be the most reliable small satellite launcher available. Alpha’s pump-fed, regeneratively-cooled engines use standard LOx/RP, and our avionics systems, such as the flight computer and communication system, employ COTS components with established flight heritage. Modern advances in carbon composite materials are used to create strong, lightweight primary structures such as propellant tanks. Entirely manufactured and launched in the USA, we’re able to keep costs to a minimum while achieving unprecedented dependability.

Our dedicated launch facilities on the west and east coast of the US, at Vandenberg Space Force Base Space Launch Complex 2 and Cape Canaveral Space Force Station Space Launch Complex 20, will enable flights as frequent as once per month by late 2022.

Performance

  • PAYLOAD LEO

    1,170 KG

    LEO 28.5°, 200 km

  • Payload SSO

    745 KG

    SSO, 500 km

Propulsion Stage 1

  • ENGINE

    4x Reaver 1

  • PROPELLANT

    LOX / RP–1

  • PROPELLANT FEED

    Turbopump

  • COMBUSTORS

    4

  • THRUST (VAC)

    736.1 kN

    165,482 lbf

  • ISP (VAC)

    295.6 sec

Propulsion Stage 2

  • ENGINE

    1x Lightning 1

  • PROPELLANT

    LOX / RP–1

  • PROPELLANT FEED

    Turbopump

  • COMBUSTORS

    1

  • THRUST (VAC)

    70.1 kN

  • ISP (VAC)

    322 sec

Dimensions

  • STAGE 1 DIAMETER

    1.8 m

    6 ft

  • STAGE 2 DIAMETER

    1.8 m

    6 ft

  • PAYLOAD FAIRING DIAMETER

    2 m

    6.6 ft

  • OVERALL LENGTH

    29.48 m

    95 ft

Alpha baseline payload envelope with baseline payload adapter

Propulsion

Alpha utilizes well established propulsion technology. Both stages use common designs: copper regen-cooled LOx/RP-1 thrust chambers, a simple tap-off cycle which drives single shaft turbopumps, nozzle-mounted turbine exhaust manifolds, and hydraulic actuators. Innovations in Firefly engines include our simple “Crossfire” injector, tap-off geometry, dual-mounted electrically actuated, trimmable propellant main valves, and ultra-compact horizontal turbopump mounting. The upper stage engine, “Lightning,” includes a turbine-exhaust cooled refractory metal high area ratio nozzle extension. The first stage “Reaver” engines feature simple single axis gimballing. Consistent with the overall Alpha vehicle design, cost and performance are traded and optimized in Lightning and Reaver components to provide the best payload performance value.

Structures

Firefly utilizes advanced carbon-fiber composites for the entire airframe of Alpha, including the state-of-the-art, linerless, cryogenic propellant tanks. Composite materials are ideally suited to launch vehicle structures due to their high strength, low density and tailorable material properties. This allows Firefly Alpha to lift heavier payloads than a similar metal rocket.

Avionics

Firefly Avionics hardware utilizes a combination of custom designed state-of-the-art and Commercial Off the Shelf (COTS) components.

Data Acquisition is accomplished using a rugged, modular Data Acquisition Chassis, which provides analog to digital conversion of all sensor data, and further packages the data and transmits to the Flight Computer via an onboard Ethernet network.

The Flight Computer incorporates all vehicle telemetry and transmits data along with video to various Earth ground stations along the flight trajectory, for the duration of the flight.

firefly flight 1

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