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Firefly partners with Aerojet Rocketdyne, mulls AR1 engine for Beta launch vehicle

18 Oct 2019, 21:13 UTC
Firefly partners with Aerojet Rocketdyne, mulls AR1 engine for Beta launch vehicle
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WASHINGTON — Firefly Aerospace on Oct. 18 said it is collaborating with Aerojet Rocketdyne to increase the performance of its upcoming Alpha launch vehicle, and is considering Aerojet Rocketdyne’s AR1 engine for a future launch vehicle.
Cedar Park, Texas-based Firefly said its debut Alpha rocket, set to launch in the first quarter of 2020, will feature 3D-printed components from Aerojet Rocketdyne on its first-stage Reaver engines.
The company’s second vehicle, Beta, may use the AR1 engine Aerojet Rocketdyne previously promoted as an option for United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan rocket, the two companies said.
In a news release, Aerojet Rocketdyne and Firefly said they will collaborate on multiple fronts, including the Orbital Transfer Vehicle Firefly is building to ferry LEO satellites up to the geosynchronous arc. The companies said they will team up on addressing commercial and government markets, including national security space.
“We will take advantage of Firefly’s mature launch vehicle designs, Aerojet Rocketdyne’s advanced propulsion systems and the world-class technological capabilities of both companies,” said Aerojet Rocketdyne CEO Eileen Drake.
In an interview, Mark Watt, acting chief financial officer at Firefly, said Firefly is planning three different launch vehicles — Alpha, Beta and Gamma — ...

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