Tom Markusic Out as Firefly CEO 3 Months After AEI Takes Majority Stake in Rocket Company

Tom Markusic and Lauren Lyons in front of Firefly Alpha rocket on the pad at Vandenberg Space Force Base. (Credit: Firefly Aerospace)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Firefly Aerospace co-founder Tom Markusic is out as CEO, a move that comes three months after AE Industrial Partners (AEI) led a $75 million Series B funding round and completed its acquisition of a majority stake in the rocket company.

Firefly announced this week that Markusic transitioned to the role of full-time board member and chief technical advisor on Thursday, June 16. He remains “a significant minority investor” in the company, which is preparing for the second flight test of its Alpha small-satellite booster.

(more…)

AE Industrial Partners Leads $75 Million Series B Growth Equity Investment in Firefly Aerospace, a Leading Provider of Launch and In-Space Vehicles

AEI Concurrently Closes its Previously Announced Strategic Investment in Firefly Aerospace

BOCA RATON, Fla., March 22, 2022 (AE Industrial Partners PR) — AE Industrial Partners, LP (“AEI”), a U.S-based private equity firm specializing in aerospace, defense and government services, space, power and utility services, and specialty industrial markets, announced today that it led a $75 million Series B financing round in Firefly Aerospace (“Firefly” or the “Company”), an emerging leader in economical launch vehicles, spacecraft, and in-space services. The Series B investment will support Firefly’s next stage of growth by providing capital for future Alpha flights, the Blue Ghost Lunar Lander Program, and the development of additional launch and in-space solutions. Concurrently, AEI completed its previously reported acquisition of Noosphere Venture Partners LP’s (“Noosphere Ventures”) stake in the Company. The transaction values Firefly above its May 2021 Series A valuation of more than $1 billion.

(more…)

AE Industrial Partners Reaches a Definitive Agreement to Acquire a Significant Stake in Firefly Aerospace, a Leading Provider of Launch and In-Space Vehicles

Definitive Agreement on Acquisition by U.S.-based Investment Firm will Fuel Firefly’s Continued Journey as a Leader in End-to-End Space Transportation

BOCA RATON, Fla., Feb. 24, 2022 (AEI PR) — AE Industrial Partners, LP (“AEI”), a U.S-based private equity firm specializing in aerospace, defense & government services, space, power and utility services, and specialty industrial markets, announced today that it has reached a definitive agreement to acquire a significant stake in Firefly Aerospace (“Firefly” or “the Company”), an emerging leader in economical launch vehicles, spacecraft, and in-space services, from Noosphere Venture Partners LP (“Noosphere”). Transaction closing is subject to the satisfaction of regulatory approvals, including Hart-Scott-Rodino (“HSR”) clearance. Other terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

(more…)

Firefly Names Former Department of Defense and Intelligence Community Air Force Colonel to Lead Firefly Space Transport Services

Jason B. Mello tapped to lead efforts in spaceflight customer acquisition as Firefly continues its momentum into large-scale production

CEDAR PARK, Texas, November 3, 2021 (Firefly Aerospace PR) – Firefly Aerospace, Inc., an emerging leader in economical launch vehicles, spacecraft, and in-space services, today announced that Jason B. Mello will join the team as President of Firefly Space Transport Services (STS), formerly known as Firefly Black, located in Washington D.C. Firefly STS, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Firefly Aerospace, will serve as the primary business development unit for all of Firefly’s customers – commercial, civil, and military – with initial emphasis on Government customers. A former Air Force Colonel, Mello brings over 23 years of experience leading teams across the Department of Defense and Intelligence Community helping address and solve our Nation’s most difficult science and technology problems.

(more…)

Firefly Completes Critical Design Review for Blue Ghost Lunar Lander

Blue Ghost lunar lander (Credit: Firefly Aerospace)

Announces it has successfully completed NASA’s Critical Design Review of its Blue Ghost lunar lander and is on schedule for September 2023 lunar mission

CEDAR PARK, Texas, October 25, 2021 (Firefly Aerospace PR) – Firefly Aerospace, Inc., a leader in economical launch vehicles, spacecraft, and in-space services, today announced it reached a major milestone with the successful completion of the Critical Design Review (CDR) of their Blue Ghost lunar lander. This CDR paves the way for construction of the Blue Ghost lander, which is scheduled to touch down in the Mare Crisium lunar basin in September of 2023 carrying ten NASA payloads as part of the $93.3-million Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) contract secured by Firefly earlier this year. The lander will also take several commercial payloads to the lunar surface. The 2023 Blue Ghost mission will be the first of what are expected to be yearly lunar surface missions for Firefly.

(more…)

ASI and Qascom to Bring Italy and Galileo Navigation System to the Moon

Photo of Mare Crisium taken by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. (Credit: NASA)

ROME (ASI PR) — Finding the best route for lunar orbit and easy parking on the Moon is the goal of NEIL (Navigation Early Investigation on Lunar surface) GNSS receiver with Software Defined Radio (SDR) technology. The creation of NEIL, named in honor of Neil Armstrong, the first man to touch the lunar soil, is at the center of an agreement between the Italian Space Agency (ASI) and NASA linked to the CLPS 19-D mission (NASA missions with contributions commercial and private of an experimental nature) with which the American space agency has planned to land with a lander in the Mare Crisium basin in 2023. [Editor’s Note: This is Firefly Aerospace’s Blue Ghost lander mission.]

NEIL, subject of the contract signed between ASI and the company Qascom SRL, is the on-board payload that will be an integral part of the experiment called Lunar GNSS Receiver Experiment  (LuGRE), defined in the ASI/NASA agreement, which aims to develop an activity in a lunar and cislunar environment.

(more…)

Firefly Aerospace Selects Redwire as Key Mission Partner in Lunar Lander Mission to Launch in 2023

Blue Ghost lunar lander (Credit: Firefly Aerospace)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla., August 18, 2021 (Redwire PR) – Redwire, a leader in mission critical space solutions and high reliability components for the next generation space economy, has been awarded a subcontract from Firefly Aerospace to provide avionics and critical navigation systems for their Blue Ghost lunar lander. Firefly Aerospace was awarded a contract to deliver a suite of 10 science investigations and technology demonstrations to the Moon in 2023 for  NASA’s Artemis program. The award is part of the agency’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services  (CLPS) initiative, in which NASA is securing the service of commercial partners to quickly land science and technology payloads on the lunar surface.

(more…)

Firefly Aerospace Awards Contract to SpaceX to Launch Blue Ghost Mission to Moon in 2023

Illustration of Firefly Aerospace’s Blue Ghost lander on the lunar surface. The lander will carry a suite of 10 science investigations and technology demonstrations to the Moon in 2023 as part of NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) initiative. (Credits: Firefly Aerospace)

CEDAR PARK, Texas, May 20, 2021 (Firefly Aerospace PR) – Firefly Aerospace Inc., a leading provider of economical and dependable launch vehicles, spacecraft, and in-space services, announced today that it has awarded a contract to SpaceX to launch its Blue Ghost lunar lander in 2023. Blue Ghost will be carrying 10 payloads for NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) task order 19D mission, in addition to separately contracted commercial payloads.

(more…)

Firefly Research Receives NASA SBIR Award for Solar Electric Space Unity Vehicle

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

NASA has selected the research arm of Firefly Aerospace for a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) award to develop a solar electric transfer stage capable of taking payloads from the Earth to the moon.

“Firefly Research, LLC (FFR) is pleased to propose to NASA the development of a Space Utility Vehicle (SUV) to a CDR [critical design review] level of fidelity,” the technical abstract said. “This vehicle serves as a solar electric transfer stage, offering enough Delta-V to transfer more than 500 kg of payload from Low Earth Orbit (LEO) to Low Lunar Orbit (LLO) after launch on a small lift launch vehicle.

(more…)

NASA Awards Firefly Aerospace $93.3M to Deliver Suite of Payloads to the Moon in 2023

Blue Ghost lander on the moon. (Credit: Firefly Aerospace)

CEDAR PARK, Texas, February 4, 2021 (Firefly Aerospace PR) – Firefly Aerospace, Inc., a leading provider of economical and dependable launch vehicles, spacecraft, and in-space services, announced that NASA has awarded Firefly $93.3 million to deliver a suite of ten NASA-sponsored science and technology demonstration payloads to Mare Crisium in the Moon’s Crisium basin. Firefly’s ‘Blue Ghost’ lunar lander will deliver the payloads to the lunar surface in 2023 in fulfillment of Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) task order 19D, managed by NASA’s Science Mission Directorate.

(more…)