Firefly Aerospace, a space transportation company, has announced the completion of its Blue Ghost lunar lander structure and fluid systems. This achievement marks a significant milestone for Firefly’s first lunar mission, which is scheduled to land on the Moon in 2024 as part of NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) initiative. Firefly has won three task orders under NASA CLPS, totaling over $230 million in awards.
The development and assembly of the Blue Ghost lander structure and fluid systems were carried out at Firefly’s Texas spacecraft facility. The company’s in-house manufacturing and test facilities played a crucial role in enabling the rapid design, construction, and testing of the lander. The core components of the lander, including panels, struts, legs, harnesses, avionics, batteries, and thrusters, were all designed and built in-house using flight-proven technologies. Extensive qualification testing was conducted to ensure that the lander can withstand the various load cases during launch, transit, and landing.
Firefly’s vertically integrated approach and shared components across its vehicles contribute to scaled efficiencies, lower costs, and quality assurance. The company’s ability to have more control over mission schedules and reduce dependency on the supply chain is attributed to its in-house manufacturing capabilities and facilities that can accommodate the development of multiple landers.
Blue Ghost Mission 1, the upcoming lunar mission, will carry commercial and government payloads to Mare Crisium on the Moon’s near side. This includes 10 NASA-sponsored instruments that will support NASA’s goal of establishing a sustainable lunar presence. The payloads will conduct several first-of-its-kind demonstrations, such as regolith sample collection, Global Navigation Satellite System abilities testing, radiation tolerant computing, and lunar dust mitigation. Most of the payloads have already been processed at Firefly’s facility and have successfully passed fit checks and functional checkouts on the lander.
The next major milestones for Blue Ghost Mission 1 include payload integration and environmental testing before the mission’s launch in 2024. Meanwhile, Firefly is also preparing for its second lunar mission, Blue Ghost Mission 2, which is scheduled to deploy a satellite to lunar orbit and deliver multiple payloads to the far side of the Moon in 2026. Mission 2 still has capacity available for payload delivery and orbital services for commercial customers.
Overall, Firefly Aerospace’s completion of the Blue Ghost lunar lander structure and fluid systems represents a significant step forward in their mission to contribute to the future of space exploration and the growing lunar economy.