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NASA contract Firefly to provide radio frequency calibration services from lunar orbit
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NASA contract Firefly to provide radio frequency calibration services from lunar orbit
by Staff Writers
Cedar Park TX (SPX) Sep 15, 2023

Firefly Aerospace, Inc., an end-to-end space transportation company, was awarded an $18 million NASA Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) contract to provide radio frequency calibration services from lunar orbit as part of Blue Ghost Mission 2, Firefly's second mission to the Moon in 2026. This contract marks Firefly's third NASA CLPS task order award, totaling nearly $230 million to date for lunar payload services.

"Firefly is honored to support the growing lunar infrastructure that's enabling the next generation of space exploration and unlocking new insights about the dark ages of our universe," said Bill Weber, CEO of Firefly Aerospace. "As Firefly's third NASA CLPS award, this mission is another example of how our robust vehicle lines and mission services support the needs of our customers."

Blue Ghost Mission 2 uses a two-stage vehicle configuration, including Firefly's Blue Ghost lunar lander stacked on an Elytra Dark orbital vehicle. Serving as the Blue Ghost transfer vehicle, Elytra will first deploy the Blue Ghost lander and the European Space Agency's Lunar Pathfinder satellite in lunar orbit. Blue Ghost will then touch down on the far side of the Moon with NASA's LuSEE-Night radio telescope.

Elytra will remain in lunar orbit to provide radio frequency calibration services for LuSEE-Night with a deployable antenna designed and built in collaboration with MMA Design, Inc. and Vulcan Wireless. These services provided from lunar orbit will prep LuSEE-Night for its mission to uncover new insights about the origins of the universe. Elytra will also serve as the communications relay for the Blue Ghost lander throughout its surface mission.

"Paired together, Firefly's Blue Ghost lunar lander and Elytra orbital vehicle greatly expand our mission capabilities and provide robust payload services from Earth to the Moon and beyond," said Jana Spruce, Vice President of Spacecraft at Firefly Aerospace. "Utilizing common components across all our product lines, our spacecraft are designed to be highly mobile, scalable, and customizable, serving the needs of NASA, international government agencies, and the broader commercial industry."

Firefly utilizes common core avionics, power systems, propulsion components, and carbon composite structures across its launch vehicles, lunar landers, and orbital vehicles to reduce costs and scale efficiencies.

The company is in the final assembly phase of its Blue Ghost lunar lander for its first mission to the Moon in 2024 as it concurrently ramps up for its second mission, which offers additional payload capacity for surface delivery and orbital services for commercial customers. Firefly is also preparing for multiple Alpha launches in the coming months and its first Elytra mission in 2024.

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