Firefly Aerospace, an end-to-end space transportation company, today announced it completed the development and assembly of its Blue Ghost lander structure and fluid systems, a critical milestone for Firefly's first lunar mission slated to land on the Moon in 2024 as part of NASA's Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) initiative. This mission is one of three task orders Firefly has won under NASA CLPS, accounting for more than $230 million in awards.
Firefly's ability to rapidly design, build, and test its Blue Ghost lunar lander can be credited to its in-house manufacturing and test facilities. The lander's core components, including the panels, struts, legs, harnesses, avionics, batteries, and thrusters, were designed and built in-house using many of the same flight-proven technologies common to all of Firefly's launch and orbital vehicles. The team conducted extensive qualification testing on the assembled Blue Ghost structure and each component to ensure the lander will withstand all launch, transit, and landing load cases.
Blue Ghost Mission 1 will carry commercial and government payloads, including 10 NASA-sponsored instruments, to Mare Crisium on the Moon's near side. The payloads support NASA's goal to build a sustainable lunar presence by conducting several first-of-its-kind demonstrations, including testing regolith sample collection, Global Navigation Satellite System abilities, radiation tolerant computing, and lunar dust mitigation. Nearly all of the payloads have been processed at Firefly's facility and successfully passed fit checks and functional checkouts on the lander.
The next major milestones for Blue Ghost Mission 1 include payload integration followed by environmental testing before the mission launches in 2024. Concurrently, Firefly is ramping up for its second lunar mission, Blue Ghost Mission 2, that will first deploy a satellite to lunar orbit and then deliver multiple payloads to the far side of the Moon in 2026. Mission 2 has remaining capacity to offer payload delivery and orbital services for commercial customers.