U.S. tests engine of Ukrainian-American Firefly Alpha rocket

U.S. tests engine of Ukrainian-American Firefly Alpha rocket

Ukrinform
Private aerospace firm Firefly Aerospace has conducted a successful test of the engine of the first stage of the Firefly Alpha rocket at the test facility in Briggs, Texas, the United States, according to an Ukrinform correspondent.

During the test, the engine was mounted on a horizontal test platform equipped to collect data and analyze engine performance parameters. Test run of the engine lasted about 60 seconds. According to developers, the test was successful.

Firefly Aerospace CEO Tom Markusic told the agency's correspondent that during the launch in December 2019 three such engines would be installed at the first stage of the Alpha launch vehicle.

Firefly Aerospace is a private aerospace company with offices in Austin (Texas, the United States) and the Ukrainian city of Dnipro. The engine test and manufacturing facility is located in Texas, while Ukrainian employees of the company at a research and development (R&D) center in Dnipro are developing parts of the equipment.

In 2017, Firefly Aerospace, which faced financial difficulties, was bought out by Ukrainian businessman Max Polyakov, founder of Noosphere Ventures and EOS Data Analytics. The work on the development of the Alpha has resumed since then.

The company plans to launch two such rockets per month from 2021. It is also planning to develop a heavier rocket, the Beta, which is likely to consist of three Alpha rockets combined together.

The Alpha launch vehicle is designed to bring a 1,000 kg payload to a low Earth orbit. The first launch is scheduled for December 2019 from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California (the U.S.).

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