Firefly Aerospace is one step closer to landing on the Moon after Blue Ghost’s critical design review by NASA

Firefly Aerospace, a company of Ukrainian businessman Max Polyakov, has completed NASA’s Critical Design Review (CDR) of its Blue Ghost lunar lander. According to the company, after passing this stage, it can start the construction of Blue Ghost, which is scheduled to land in the Mare Crisium lunar basin in September 2023.

Blue Ghost lunar lander. Image credit: Firefly Aerospace

Firefly Aerospace’s Blue Ghost lunar lander is scheduled to touch down in the Mare Crisium lunar basin in September 2023, carrying ten NASA payloads. This mission will be the first of Firefly’s annual lunar surface missions, and passing the critical stage is another step toward fulfilling the company’s plans.

“This milestone marks another step in an aggressive schedule and meeting it continues to showcase our spacecraft team’s ability to consistently deliver incredible work,” stated Dr. Tom Markusic, Firefly’s CEO. “This mission is a forerunner of what we see as a growing cadence of recurring data and payload service missions in cis-lunar space that will kickstart a lunar economy, and we’re honored to be demonstrating our ability to deliver these services for NASA and for our commercial customers.”

Blue Ghost on the lunar surface. Image: NASA

As reported by AIN.UA in November 2018, the space agency published a list of nine US companies eligible to bid on NASA delivery services to the lunar surface. Firefly Aerospace was among the selected companies.

In early 2021, NASA announced a partnership with Firefly Aerospace and awarded the company with a $93 million contract for the delivery of science and technology payloads to the Moon in 2023. The delivery, planned for Mare Crisium, will investigate a variety of lunar surface conditions and resources.

The payloads, weighing a total of 94 kg, will include test equipment, including a set of lunar retroreflectors for precise measurements of the distance between Earth and the Moon, radiation-tolerant electronics, devices to analyze the regolith and structure of the lunar mantle, etc.