Firefly Aerospace has recruited a former Blue Origin and SpaceX engineer as the new chief operating officer (COO) to oversee the company’s transition from research to production. However, the exact date of the company’s maiden launch is unknown.
Lauren Lyons, who will be located in Cedar Park, Texas, will join Firefly as the chief operating officer on August 17th. Lyons worked for SpaceX on the Dragon, Falcon 9, and Starlink programs for several years before joining Blue Origin as the lead systems engineer in the advanced ideas department. She also regularly appears on SpaceX’s webcasts, notably for the Demo-2 commercial crew mission test in 2020.
According to the company, Lyons will work on “transitioning Firefly from the R&D environment to the production environment” for the business’s Alpha small launch vehicle, Space Utility Vehicle tug, and Blue Ghost lunar lander.
In a statement, Lyons stated, “Firefly is entering a vital and exciting era of its growth.” “I’m ecstatic to take on the task of scaling the company’s infrastructure to enable quick expansion, a high execution pace, and provide outstanding service and value to our customers.”
Firefly is also branching out into component manufacturing. The engines created for the Alpha vehicle will be made available to other customers, according to the business. “External orders have already exceeded the number of engines which Firefly was producing for usage on its launch vehicle, Alpha,” stated Eric Salwan, Firefly’s chief revenue officer, in an August 6 statement but could not reveal the quantity of engines purchased or the clients for them.
On Alpha or even any other launch vehicle, those engines have so far not been able to take flight. The first Alpha rocket was delivered to Vandenberg Space Force Base early this year for pad testing, but no launch date has been announced. Kim Jennett, a spokesperson for Firefly, said the firm isn’t announcing a debut date just yet, but that “things are coming close.”
Salwan stated the corporation was waiting on a single unidentified component for the flight termination system during a July 7 teleconference hosted by the Future In-Space Operations group. “Once we get it, we will start the launch campaign, and hopefully, we will be able to debut here in the next few months.”
Firefly Aerospace is an Austin, Texas-based private aerospace company that builds launch vehicles, both small and medium-sized, for commercial orbital missions. They are advocates of NewSpace, a concept in the aerospace sector whose goal is to improve access to space via new technological developments that result in lower launch costs and less rules and logistical constraints associated with reliance on national space agencies.