Celebrate Independence Day by Buying a Rocket Test Facility

Employees celebrate the completion of Test Stand 1. (Credit: Firefly Space Systems)

Do you make rocket engines?
Do you need a place to test your rocket engines?
Are you free on July 4?

If you can answer yes to all these questions, then get yourself down to the Burnet County Courthouse in Texas next month. The last vestige of bankrupt Firefly Space Systems — its test facility north of Austin — will be auctioned off beginning at 10 a.m. on July 4.

No, that’s not a typo. Apparently, the county only does real estate foreclosure auctions on the first Tuesday of the month, whether it’s a national holiday or not.

The 199.9 acre property includes a test stand and other structures constructed by Firefly while the company was in operation.

Firefly had been developing the Alpha small-satellite booster, which would have used an aerospike engine. The company laid off all of its employees last September after suffering financial setbacks.

It later went bankrupt, with most of its assets being purchased at auction in March by EOS Launcher, Inc. EOS Launcher had obtained a $1 million promissory note Firefly had signed with Space Florida. It then foreclosed on the company.

According to the  auction notice for the test site, EOS Launcher has since changed its name to Firefly Aerospace, Inc., which is registered in Delaware.

Ukrainian entrepreneur Maxym Polyakov, who made his fortune in online dating, is the man behind EOS Launcher/Firefly Aerospace. He has been pursuing the development of launch vehicles, satellites and ground stations for several years working with engineers in the United States and Ukraine.

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