Home Tech Firefly Launches Alpha Rocket To Orbit – Slashdot

Firefly Launches Alpha Rocket To Orbit – Slashdot


techmage writes: Early this morning, Firefly Aerospace succeeded in launching their Alpha rocket to Low Earth Orbit. This marks one of a handful of companies who have reached space with that few attempts (Virgin Orbit and RocketLab are just some of the others).

Shameless plug — I had the pleasure of building the Serenity satellite, a 3U CubeSat that flew on the mission.

Check out the video of the launch and deployment. It is quite something to watch. All three payloads were successfully deployed. Space.com reports: One of them, called Serenity, comes from the nonprofit organization Teachers in Space. Serenity was designed to collect a variety of data during today’s flight, which will be shared with the educational community, according to a Firefly mission description.

Also reaching orbit today was TechEdSat-15 (TES-15), which is owned by NASA in coordination with San Jose State University in California. TES-15 features an “exo-brake” designed to help satellites leave their orbital perches more smoothly when their work is done. “The exo-brake will deploy after the cubesat is ejected from its dispenser to deorbit the cubesat,” Firefly wrote in the mission description. TES-15 also carries an experiment designed to optimize data transfer from the little spacecraft, the company added.

The third payload — the PicoBus deployer, from the nonprofit Libre Space — carries five tiny payloads of its own. Those bantam “picosats” include Genesis-L & Genesis-N, from AMSAT (Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation) Spain. The pair will demonstrate a pulsed-plasma thruster system for spacecraft propulsion and “build heritage for future missions,” according to Firefly. PicoBus is also carrying Libre Space’s Qubik-1 and Qubik-2, which will perform communications experiments, and FossaSat-1B. This latter satellite, from the Spanish company Fossa Systems, will test communications and remote-sensing tech. It also carries a low-resolution Earth-imaging camera.

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