Firefly Aerospace announces it has successfully complBlue Ghost lunar lander rendering.
Firefly Aerospace, Inc., a leader in economical launch vehicles, spacecraft, and in-space services, today announced it reached a major milestone with the successful completion of the Critical Design Review (CDR) of their Blue Ghost lunar lander. This CDR paves the way for construction of the Blue Ghost lander, which is scheduled to touch down on the Mare Crisium lunar basin in September of 2023 carrying ten NASA payloads as part of the $93.3-million Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) contract secured by Firefly earlier this year. The lander will also take several commercial payloads to the lunar surface. The 2023 Blue Ghost mission will be the first of what are expected to be yearly lunar surface missions for Firefly.
“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 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 will operate a variety of payloads through lunar transit and orbit, as well as while on the lunar surface. These payloads will explore the region’s regolith properties, geophysical characteristics, and interaction of the solar wind and the Earth’s magnetic field. There are also several key technology demonstrations related to navigation and sample collection.
“The Blue Ghost mission opens up a whole host of new opportunities for Firefly Aerospace to collaborate with NASA and other partners. We are incredibly proud of the appreciation we have been shown by NASA, and I believe that it is a testament to our resilience and innovation that we have been selected to join one of the next big steps in mankind’s exploration of the cosmos, the Artemis program,” commented Max Polyakov, co-founder and main investor of Firefly Aerospace.“Luna will soon become a key component in further endeavors into our solar system, as a base and quite possibly, our first self-sustaining settlement beyond Earth’s gravity well. It goes without saying that this is the sort of work that my company was created to do, and supporting lunar exploration is a key strategic priority for us going forward.”
Mare Crisium has been the subject of previous lunar missions including the Soviet landers Luna 15, Luna 23, and Luna 24. In 2012, the NASA GRAIL mission confirmed and mapped a mass-concentration at the center of the basin.