Startup rocket firm Firefly announced on October 18, 2019 of entering into a partnership with Aerojet Rocketdyne. The official announcement mentioned the two are about to begin with their first joint project which is 3D printing in the Reaper engines of Firefly. Director at Firefly’s commercial business development, Eric Salwan enthusiastically said that the collaboration would mean they can use the important and remarkable developments by Aerojet which took them decades to reach perfection. Solutions to problems would be better handled together than individually.
Firefly has thought of launching their first rocket, Firefly Alpha during 2020. They also have plans of developing a rocket plant close to Kennedy Space Center of NASA in Florida. The firm is located in Austin, Texas and are targeting at several medium and small launchers to geosynchronous orbit, low-earth orbit and also to lunar surface.
In the official announcement, it was also stated that collaboration would be successful because Firefly’s latest series of launch vehicles and other in-space services would come together with exceptional experience of Aerojet Rocketdyne in additive production and propulsion development etc. CEO and President at Aerojet, Eileen Drake said that they would benefit from Firefly’s experience in designs of launch vehicles. Aerojet experts in propulsion system and the companies together would bring forth the best technological abilities.
The partnership has been made at a point when analysts of launch industry have clearly said that many companies have recently ventured into small launch industry and only few would excel. Vector Launch, located in Arizona announced during August that they were temporarily holding off their operations. Firefly’s first small-satellite rocket named Alpha is dated to be launched within the first few months of 2020 from California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base. Launch pads are currently being renewed by Firefly at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and Vandenberg.