Firefly Aerospace took a giant positive step forward toward flight qualification of the Firefly Alpha second stage.
Firefly Aerospace achieved a major milestone toward flight qualification of the Firefly Alpha second stage, supporting Firefly’s goal of Alpha first launch in 2019. There is a youtube video available to view the event first hand.
A 300 second hotfire test of the complete upper stage was accomplished on the company’s vertical stage test stand. The length of the test successfully demonstrates the capability of the integrated system (flight avionics, structures, and propulsion systems) to operate for the duration of a flight mission (i.e., a mission duty cycle).
The stage was heavily instrumented to provide valuable data for mechanical vibration environments which will be experienced by components (e.g., avionics, fluid system components) during flight.
Preliminary analysis of data indicate that environments are consistent with analytical models and below qualification thresholds of sensitive components. All systems performed nominally during the test, and post-test inspection revealed no observable degradation of the stage systems.