Scheduled to launch in 2024, the mission supports Xtenti’s follow-on study contract with the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) to demonstrate FANTM-RiDE’s rapid payload reconfiguration capabilities prior to launching on Firefly’s Alpha vehicle and performing multiple responsive, on-orbit deployments on Elytra.
Upon launching on Alpha, Firefly’s Elytra vehicle will use the FANTM-RiDE dispenser to first deploy commercial rideshare payloads in Sun-Synchronous Orbit (SSO) and then perform an on-orbit maneuver and stand ready to deploy U.S. government payloads on-demand. Formerly known as Firefly’s Space Utility Vehicle, Elytra offers a more robust vehicle line to provide rapid on-orbit mobility, hosting, and services when and where customers need them.
Xtenti’s Flight Agnostic Non-interfering, Tunable Mass Rideshare Dispenser Equipment (FANTM-RiDE) enables customers to add, replace, or remove payloads from a manifest within hours before launching without invalidating existing mission loads analyses. With a predetermined common interface, FANTM-RiDE also enables entire loaded dispensers to be quickly interchanged between launch vehicles. FANTM-RiDE further protects multiple payloads on-orbit within a container that can open and close on-demand.
As Firefly’s second responsive space operation, the mission offers additional rideshare opportunities for commercial customers. Firefly is currently working to complete the final readiness milestones for its first responsive space mission for the U.S. Space Force before entering the stand-by phase and waiting for the 24-hour launch notice.
“Firefly is honored to support this critical mission that will further advance our nation’s responsive space capabilities and debut Firefly’s Elytra vehicle that’s filling a void in the on-orbit servicing market. As the first of many missions utilizing multiple Firefly vehicles, this operation will lay the groundwork for Firefly’s end-to-end mission services, proving our capabilities to rapidly launch, maneuver, and deploy satellites at a time and place of our customers’ choosing.” — Bill Weber, CEO, Firefly Aerospace
“Responsive delivery of space capabilities to orbit needs a paradigm shift, and Xtenti is excited to demonstrate two of FANTM-RiDE’s game-changing capabilities that enable responsive space. FANTM-RiDE not only enables rapid launch with its Rapid Rideshare Reconfiguration (R3) capability that eliminates slow and costly analytical barriers to fast payload hot-swaps, but it also enables on-orbit pre-positioning of payloads already stored on orbit for quick deployment on demand.” — Dan Lim, President and CEO, Xtenti