New Delhi:- Firefly Aerospace on Tuesday launched a line of orbital vehicles called the Elytra, which seeks to be an end-to-end mission service provider for commercial and government customers. The first Elytra will fly on a Firefly Alpha rocket in 2024, under a rapid response mission contract with Texas startup Xtanti for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO).
The Elytra vehicle was formerly known as a "space utility vehicle". Initially, Firefly said it would develop two SUV models, a smaller Light SUV and a significantly larger and more powerful Lux SUV.
Now, the company announced that it will offer three vehicles - Elytra Dawn, Elytra Dusk, and Elytra Dark - that will be compatible with Firefly's small Alpha launcher and a mid-size launcher that is still in development.
"Elytra continues to expand Firefly's in-orbit services by opening up access to more orbits, extending each mission's lifetime, and providing out-of-orbit services to help reduce space debris," Firefly CEO Bill Weber said in a statement. "Our family of rugged vehicles gives us the unique advantage of rapidly launching, deploying and maintaining satellites into orbit in response to dynamic changes in space."
Elytra Dawn is optimized for Low Earth Orbit (LEO) missions; Elytra Dusk can operate from LEO to geosynchronous orbit (GEO); while the Elytra Dark is the sturdiest of its kind, designed "to serve as persistent orbital infrastructure" and to support deep space transfers.
The first Elytra Dusk will launch next year under an agreement with space logistics company Xtenti, which will use its small satellite distributor with orbital vehicles. The mission, which will launch next year, is part of a contract with the NRO to demonstrate the distributor's responsiveness in orbit.
Once launched on Alpha, Elytra will use a "Navigation, Non-Flight Interference Shared Ride Sharing Device" delivery kit (Fantm-Ride) to deploy commercial payloads into orbit. synchronicity of the Sun; the vehicle will then move into orbit and wait, essentially, until the NRO tells it to deploy the government payloads.
Defense agencies have issued a number of contracts for "rapid response" space capabilities, such as the ability to launch rockets on short notice or to deploy satellites into orbit in the blink of an eye. While this mission with Xtanti is designed to demonstrate the latter, Firefly also seeks to demonstrate the former:
Last year, the company won a contract with the US Space Force to use Alpha to launch satellites into orbit with just 24 hours' notice.
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The space company Firefly Aerospace is on the production line of a new rocket called the Elytra that will launch in 2024 as announced on Tuesday.