US-Ukrainian Firefly Aerospace awards contract to SpaceX

The US-Ukrainian company Firefly Aerospace, co-founded by Ukrainian businessman Max Polyakov, has awarded a contract to Elon Musk’s SpaceX company to launch its Blue Ghost lunar lander in 2023, as Firefly Aerospace reported to AIN.UA.

In February 2021, it became known that Firefly Aerospace was awarded a $93 million contract by NASA as part of the Artemis program. The agency will award the company $93.3 million for the delivery of scientific and technology payloads to the Moon in 2023. Firefly’s mission will be to deliver the payloads (mostly scientific equipment) to the Mare Crisium. This equipment will be used to study resources and conditions on the lunar surface. This data is important for future lunar missions involving humans.

The Blue Ghost lander, named after the rare Phausis reticulata firefly, will be used to deliver the payloads. It will land in the Mare Crisium and deliver about 150 kg of payloads to the lunar surface. Since the contract was signed, a team of engineers has been conducting regular vision navigation test flights at Firefly’s one-acre Briggs, Texas lunar landscape site.

SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket will carry the module to the lunar orbit.

“The Blue Ghost mission will include delivery of NASA payloads that will support scientific lunar research and will contribute to developing a sustainable presence on the Moon as part of the Artemis program. We’re honored Firefly selected Falcon 9 for launch,” said SpaceX Vice President of Commercial Sales Tom Ochinero. 

“This is a very important mission, with the best minds and the most legendary companies in the space field working on it. This kind of cooperation plays a huge role in the further development of humanity,” commented Firefly Aerospace’s main investor Max Polyakov.

To recap, in early May 2021, the company announced it had raised about $200 million in funding.