Firefly Aerospace Selected for 2026 Moon Mission
NASA has selected Firefly Aerospace to land multiple payloads on the far side of the Moon and to place a European satellite into lunar orbit. The Texas-based company was awarded a $112 million task order through the Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) program for the 2026 mission.
Firefly’s Blue Ghost mission will use a two-stage system, which consists of a transfer stage and a lander. The transfer stage will deliver Lunar Pathfinder into orbit, and the lander will take the experimental payload to the lunar surface. This system could also be used for interplanetary missions and lunar sample return.
Bill Weber, chief executive of Firefly, said in a statement about the award: “This mission will debut Firefly’s unique two-stage Blue Ghost spacecraft, offering NASA and other customers multiple deployment options as we collectively build the infrastructure for ongoing lunar operations and planetary exploration.”
The mission will deliver two NASA payloads to the far side of the Moon. It will also include a communication and data relay satellite to lunar orbit, which is a collaboration between NASA and the European Space Agency. This location is ideal for making radio observations shielded from the noise generated by Earth. The sensitive observations need to take place during the fourteen-day long lunar night.
Firefly’s collaboration with “another launch partner” will enable the outfit to launch its second Moon mission. The company’s contribution to the mission will be “end to end,” and will involve using its Blue Ghost spacecraft.
0. “Firefly Aerospace Awarded $112 Million Contract From NASA” Marketscreener.com, 14 Mar. 2023, https://www.marketscreener.com/news/latest/Firefly-Aerospace-Awarded-112-Million-Contract-From-NASA–43245302/
1. “Firefly wins second NASA CLPS mission” SpaceNews, 15 Mar. 2023, https://spacenews.com/firefly-wins-second-nasa-clps-mission/
2. “NASA Selects Firefly for Lunar Far Side Delivery” Mirage News, 14 Mar. 2023, https://www.miragenews.com/nasa-selects-firefly-for-lunar-far-side-delivery-966495/