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.
Firefly Aerospace majority stakeholder Max Polyakov announced he was selling his shares to company co-founder and CEO Tom Markusic in a bitter message on his Facebook page.
I am giving up for 1 usd consideration all my 58% stake in Firefly to my co-founder and partner Tom. Dear CFIUS, Air Force and 23 agencies of USA who betrayed me and judge me in all your actions for past 15 months . I hope now you are happy . History will judge all of you guys. Max love Ukraine and yes I have Ukrainian passport and I am Founder of Firefly !!! Bye my “bird” and at the end of the days I proud what I done for my Land soul and heritage !!!
CFIUS is the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States. Late last year, the committee required that Polyakov, who is Ukrainian, sell his stake in the company. Bloombergreported:
Flight signals revival of giant airplane, which will focus on launching hypersonic test vehicles.
by Douglas Messier Managing Editor
For the first time in 2 years 16 days, Stratolaunch’s massive Roc aircraft roared down the runway at the Mojave Air and Space Port in California and soared into in clear blue sky on only its second ever flight test.
Roc took off at 7:31 a.m. PDT time, trailing a giant cloud of dust stirred up by its six jet engines and giant 385-ft long wings that hung out over the desert scrub brush. The aircraft flew over the Mojave Desert for more than three hours as a crowd that had gathered for takeoff watched.
Video Caption: «Launching a rocket into space is the hardest job you can choose».
The official trailer of the documentary about Firefly Aerospace, a Ukrainian-American rocket company, owned by Max Polyakov.
The fascinating and twisting path of Firefly Aerospace from its inception to the planned launch of Alpha rocket in 2020.
How Firefly Aerospace has survived and developed into one of the big names in private space exploration alongside such well-known ventures as SpaceX, Blue Origin, Virgin Galactic and others. Elon Musk, Jeffrey Bezos, Richard Branson and Max Polyakov – what do these people have in common? How their businesses are affecting the modern space industry.
The creators of the film, Edwards Media studio based in Austin (Texas, USA), began making an independent documentary about Firefly Aerospace in 2016. They strived to capture everything to make a complete story to show how this company is changing the world.
Subscribe to our channel to learn about the development of the space industry in Ukraine and the world. Here we collect various business stories about the international entrepreneur in the fields of space technology and IT – Max Polyakov. He is the managing partner of Noosphere Ventures Investment Fund and the founder of Firefly Aerospace, EOS DA, SETS, Renatus, Maxpay, and others. He is also the ideological inspiration of the Noosphere Association.
🔘 Firefly Aerospace is a private aerospace company that develops light launch vehicles designed to launch cargo into space. The first launch of the Alpha launch vehicle is scheduled for 2020.
A group of original shareholders in the defunct Firefly Space Systems have accused co-founder and CEO Tom Markusic of fraudulently conspiring with Ukrainian billionaire Maxym Polyakov to force the rocket company into bankruptcy in 2017 and reconstitute it under a nearly identical name without giving them any stake in the new venture.
Markusic “betrayed the trust of his original co-founders and investors and committed fraud to cut them out of his aerospace company. Instead of managing the operations of the Original Firefly, a revolutionary rocket company with endless potential, Markusic schemed with…Maxym Polyakov…to rob Plaintiffs of their investments and form a new company called Firefly Aerospace, Inc. (the ‘New Firefly’),” the plaintiffs said in a lawsuit.
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.
The company had been developing a small satellite launch vehicle before it suspended operations in September due to financial difficulties.
Virgin Galactic had launched litigation against Firefly co-founder Thomas Markusic, who had previously led Virgin’s effort to develop a competing launcher. Virgin claims that Markusic took intellectual property when he left the company in 2014.
This is an interesting Tweet from Firefly Space Systems’ co-founder Michael A. Blum on Wednesday to Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides with a cc: to Whitesides’ boss, Richard Branson. Claude appears to be Claude M. Stern, one of Virgin Galactic’s lawyers.
Letters of Intent valued at over $300M exceed projected launch capacity through 2021
CEDAR PARK, Texas, November 14, 2016 (Firefly Space Systems PR) — Firefly Space Systems, the Texas-based developer of dedicated launch vehicles for the small satellite market, announced today it has received letters of intent (LOI) in excess of projected launch capacity through 2021.
“The support from established and newspace satellite manufacturers following our recent announcement of financial difficulties has been tremendous. These LOI’s demonstrate the market demand for the small satellite launch product that Firefly is developing,” said Firefly co-Founder and CEO Dr. Thomas Markusic.
Earlier this month, Virgin Galactic filed suit in Los Angeles Superior Court against Firefly Systems and two of its officers, Michael Blum and P.J. King, alleging misappropriation of trade secrets and unfair competition.
The lawsuit is related to arbitration between Virgin Galactic and the company’s former vice president of propulsion, Thomas Markusic. Virgin alleges Markusic took trade secrets and confidential information with him when he left his position at the end of 2013 to co-found Firefly with Blum and King.
The lawsuit alleges that Firefly, Blum and King benefited from knowledge that Markusic took with him from Virgin Galactic. Markusic and the defendants have denied the claims.
Firefly laid off all of its employees at the end of September, saying the company had run out of money after an investor pulled out.
Firefly was developing a small satellite launcher, Firefly Alpha, that would have competed for business with the LauncherOne booster that Virgin Galactic is developing.
Update: I have heard everyone was laid off at Firefly. In addition, there are reports there was an arbitrator’s ruling earlier this month in the case brought by Virgin Galactic against its former head of propulsion, Tom Markusic, who co-founded Firefly. The ruling was that Markusic had taken proprietary information when he left Virgin Galactic. This is the type of ruling that dries up funding sources for startups, which would explain the company’s financial setback.
There’s been a statement posted by Firefly Space Systems via Twitter.
“Firefly Space Systems in recent weeks experienced a setback on funding, which us to take necessary action to maintain cash-flow equilibrium and position our company for future success. We are reviewing options with our financial partners and will be communicating updates to our employees in as close to real time as possible. We will update the media as soon as a resolution is reached.”
I had heard reports of layoffs in August of about 30 people, although a source said the number was less than that total.
Video Caption: Soul of the Machine tells the stories of designers and engineers that work to bring products with global impact to life. Episode 2 features Tom Markusic, CEO of Firefly Space Systems and one of the world’s leading propulsion engineers, who has set out to revolutionize the way we get to space. He and his team are rapidly working toward their first launch of NASA satellites set for March of 2018.
The Small Satellite 2016 Conference got underway today in Logan, Utah. Although I was not able to make it, I’ve been able to follow the conference via Twitter. A number of small satellite launch companies provided updates on launch vehicles they are developing. There is information below on Firefly Space Systems, Nammo, Rocket Crafters, Rocket Lab, Super Strypi, Vector Space Systems and Virgin Galactic.
Information came from the following Tweeters who are attending the conference:
Space News reports the British government has awarded contracts totaling approximately $2 million to five groups for feasibility studies on launching out of the United Kingdom.
Airbus Safran Launchers, the prime contractor for Europe’s Ariane 5 and future Ariane 6 rockets, which has said was interested in a small-satellite launcher in addition to commercializing its work on a suborbital space-tourism vehicle.
Deimos Space UK associated with Firefly Space Systems of the United States, developing a vertical-launch rocket.
Lockheed Martin of the United States, proposing a version of its Athena small-satellite vertical-launch vehicle.
Britain’s Orbital Access associated with BAE Systems and Reaction Engines Ltd., proposing to use a modified version of Reaction Engines’ single-stage-to-orbit technology, whose development is being partially funded by the British government.
Virgin Galactic, which is proposing its SpaceShipTwo suborbital vehicle, designed in the United States.
Washington D.C. (CSF PR) – The Commercial Spaceflight Federation is excited to announce the addition of three new associate members: Calspan Corporation, Firefly Space Systems, and TIP Technologies.
“The commercial spaceflight industry is developing and innovating at an ever-increasing pace,” said CSF president Eric Stallmer. “With the recent expansion of membership we have brought on board three different companies focusing on areas ranging from systems testing, small satellite launches, to quality assurance software. This diversity is a testament to the vast reach and influence of the rapidly growing commercial space sector.”