Firefly Aerospace and Millennium Space Systems, in collaboration with the U.S. Space Force, are gearing up for the VICTUS NOX mission. This mission, led by the Space Systems Command’s Space Safari Program Office, aims to demonstrate the capability of launching small satellites on-demand to support national security.
Firefly Aerospace CEO, Bill Weber, expressed his confidence in the company’s ability to excel in challenging missions like VICTUS NOX. He emphasized the importance of providing the U.S. Space Force with the critical capability to launch quickly, stating that Firefly and its mission partners will set a new standard by completing nominal launch operations in a matter of hours instead of weeks or months.
During the six-month hot standby phase, Firefly and Millennium will await activation at an undisclosed time. Once alerted by the U.S. Space Force, the mission team will have a 60-hour window to transport the payload to Vandenberg Space Force Base, conduct fueling operations, and integrate it with Firefly’s Alpha payload adaptor.
Following this, Firefly will receive a launch notice with the final orbit requirements from Space Force officials. The team will then have 24 hours to update trajectory and guidance software, encapsulate the payload, transport it to the launch pad, mate it with Alpha, and stand ready for launch at the first available window. Once deployed in low Earth orbit, Millennium will initiate operations for its Space Domain Awareness mission within 48 hours.
Jason Kim, CEO of Millennium Space Systems, highlighted the unprecedented nature of the VICTUS NOX mission and attributed its success to the dedication and teamwork of all involved parties. He emphasized the importance of adaptability and close partnerships in addressing challenges and ensuring mission success.
In preparation for the mission, Firefly conducted thorough testing and verification of each critical component, engine, and vehicle stage for its Alpha rocket. Multiple rehearsals were also completed, including the practice of all launch operations within the prescribed 24-hour timeframe.
Lt. Col. MacKenzie Birchenough, Materiel Leader for Space Safari, emphasized the significance of the U.S.’s ability to rapidly respond to on-orbit needs in today’s evolving space environment. The accelerated build time demonstrated by the VICTUS NOX team, along with the demanding launch and on-orbit goals, showcases the commitment to maintaining the nation’s dominance and freedom of operation in space.