The US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has selected Firefly Aerospace, founded by Ukrainian businessman Max Polyakov, to develop a spacecraft for moving cargo in space.
Particularly, Firefly Aerospace will develop for NASA a Space Utility Vehicle (SUV), an electrically powered spacecraft capable of moving cargo in space and delivering it to lunar orbit. This device should deliver the payload to orbits in cases where classic rockets fail.
Earlier, the Texas branch of Firefly Aerospace signed a contract for participation in the NASA program, where the company's launch vehicle, Firefly Alpha, is to deliver an experimental orbiting satellite into space. Besides, NASA is interested in the lander payload of the company, Blue Ghost. It has already been chosen for participation in the Artemis space program.
Now, the development and implementation of the Space Utility Vehicle in the Firefly Aerospace space services system will become the next link in the payload delivery network to the Moon.
According to the plan, the vehicle will be able to move cargo of up to 500 kg between orbits, and will also allow to increase the range of cargo delivery using rockets and maintain a flight in the lowest possible orbit of 250 km.
It will be equipped with solar-powered electric motors and will be able to provide a platform for cargo requiring additional power or communication.
The company was created on the basis of Firefly Space Systems. In 2017, Maxim Polyakov, a Ukrainian entrepreneur and founder of Noosphere Ventures, bought the company and relaunched it.
The company develops small vehicles for delivering cargo to low-earth orbit. Its main office is located in the USA, and the research and development center of the enterprise is in Dnipro, Ukraine.