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Firefly Aerospace Acquires Spaceflight Inc.

Firefly Aerospace has successfully acquired Spaceflight Inc., a renowned satellite transportation services provider.

  • More details coming soon...
Zac Aubert

Zac Aubert

Tue Jun 13 2023Written by Zac Aubert

Firefly Aerospace, a private aerospace company, has announced that it has successfully acquired Spaceflight Inc., a renowned satellite transportation services provider.

The acquisition will expand Firefly's portfolio of launch vehicles and spacecraft, enabling it to offer comprehensive "end-to-end" space transportation services. Notable additions to Firefly's offerings include the Alpha launch vehicle, Blue Ghost lunar lander, and Space Utility Vehicle transfer vehicle.

"This acquisition is the result of Firefly's business plan to strengthen the company through organic growth and strategic acquisitions." - Bill Weber, Chief Executive of Firefly Aerospace

The terms of the acquisition were not disclosed, but Firefly spokesperson Risa Schnautz confirmed that the deal has already been finalized.

Spaceflight Inc., previously owned by a 50/50 partnership between Mitsui & Co. and Yamasa Co., had become a prominent player in arranging launches of small satellites. With over 460 payloads deployed, the company had also developed its own series of orbital transfer vehicles known as Sherpa, utilizing a combination of chemical and electric propulsion systems.

Spaceflight Inc. collaborated with various launch providers, although it encountered challenges with SpaceX at one point. However, Firefly announced that going forward, Spaceflight's services would be exclusive to Firefly's vehicles. Schnautz confirmed that Firefly will honor Spaceflight's current contracts but will not aggregate payloads on other launch vehicles.

The acquisition strategically positions Firefly to respond swiftly to the growing market demand for on-orbit services and rapid response missions.

"With a high market demand for our on-orbit services and rapid response missions, this acquisition uniquely positions Firefly to respond immediately to our customers' needs." - Bill Weber, Chief Executive of Firefly Aerospace

Firefly plans to retain Spaceflight's Bellevue, Washington payload processing facility, which will be repurposed for manufacturing orbital transfer vehicles.

The entire workforce of Spaceflight Inc; consisting of approximately 90 employees will join Firefly.

In the coming months, Firefly will evaluate talent and determine roles and responsibilities within the combined organization.

Firefly is currently preparing for the third launch of its Alpha rocket as part of a tactically responsive launch demonstration for the U.S. Space Force. The mission involves carrying a satellite called Victus Nox and requires the rocket to be ready for launch within 24 hours.

In August 2022, Firefly announced a partnership with Northrop Grumman to develop a new first stage for Northrop's Antares rocket, utilizing engines that Firefly is developing. The collaboration aims to offer the vehicle, designated MLV, to the U.S. Space Force for the National Security Space Launch Phase 3 competition.

Furthermore, Firefly has secured two NASA awards through the Commercial Lunar Payload Services program. The first award is scheduled for a lunar lander mission in 2024 using its Blue Ghost lander. The second award, granted in March, will involve deploying a spacecraft in lunar orbit and landing on the far side of the moon in 2026, demonstrating Firefly's continued involvement in lunar exploration and development.

The acquisition of Spaceflight Inc. reinforces Firefly Aerospace's position in the commercial space industry, enhancing its capabilities to provide comprehensive space transportation services to its customers.