Firefly Aerospace Inc., a leading manufacturer of cost-effective and dependable launch vehicles, satellites, and in-space facilities, announced that SpaceX had been awarded a contract to launch its Blue Ghost lunar lander in 2023. In addition to separately contracted commercial payloads, Blue Ghost will carry ten loads for NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) task order 19D flight.
Firefly Senior Vice President of Spacecraft, Shea Ferring, “Firefly is excited to fly our Blue Ghost spacecraft on the highly reliable Falcon 9, which will deliver NASA instruments and technology demonstration payloads that support NASA science goals and NASA’s Artemis program. The high performance of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 launch vehicle permits a lunar transit using minimal Blue Ghost propulsion resources, thereby allowing the lander to deliver more than 150 kg of payload to the lunar surface.”
NASA awarded Firefly Aerospace Inc. the CLPS 19D task order in February 2021, and the Blue Ghost program has progressed quickly since then. At Firefly’s one-acre Briggs, Texas lunar landscape site, the team has vital long-lead products on order, manufacturing is underway, and routine vision navigation test flights are conducted. Tom Markusic, Firefly CEO, said, “Firefly is excited to leverage the performance and reliability of Falcon 9 to propel Blue Ghost on the first phase of its journey to the Moon.”
Blue Ghost (named after the unusual Phausis reticulata firefly) can land at Mare Crisium in the Crisium basin of the Moon and run on-board payloads for an entire lunar day (roughly 14 Earth days) and deep into the freezing darkness of lunar night. Early-career and experienced professionals alike are welcome to apply to work on Firefly Aerospace Inc.‘s lunar lander, launch vehicles, and other space-related ventures.