Firefly Aerospace in Cedar Park aiming to launch rockets
Firefly Aerospace gave a 40-second demonstration of a rocket engine test during a tour of its Briggs facilities March 13.
A Cedar Park-based business said it plans to launch rockets into space.
Firefly Aerospace is in the process of developing small satellite launch vehicles. Previously called Firefly Space Systems, the company’s assets, intellectual property and patents were purchased by Dr. Max Polyakov in 2017 and rebranded as Firefly Aerospace.
Until March, Firefly kept most of its operations under wraps. Led by Co-founder and CEO Thomas Markusic, on March 13 tours of Firefly’s facilities were given to industry professionals, members of the media and attendees of the South by Southwest Conference & Festivals. The company also held a booth at the SXSW Trade Show, with models of a rocket and engines, Chief Operating Officer Leo Sipich said.
“Firefly has reached a level of technical maturity in our program and facilities, and we felt it was appropriate to let people see what we’ve accomplished so far,” said Eric Salwan, the company’s director of commercial business development. “We very much believe that technology should be demonstrated, not talked about.”
Firefly has conducted around 150 rocket engine tests, but so far no rockets have been launched. The company plans to launch its first rocket in the third quarter of 2019, Salwan said.
The company’s first model is called the Firefly Alpha. Salwan said Firefly’s products are intended for NASA and the private industry to deploy single or multiple satellites.
“There are thousands of satellites planned for small satellite constellations, and Firefly Alpha can be used to deploy the initial constellation or to replenish satellites as needed,” he said.
Firefly employs 120 people and operates its headquarters within Cedar Park, where it designs and manufactures the missiles. Testing is performed at the company’s test site location in Briggs.
“We are looking forward to continuing to grow our footprint and workforce in Cedar Park,” Salwan said.