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Firefly Acquires Spaceflight Inc.
PLUS: The Brightest Cosmic Burst EVER Detected
Good morning Earthlings 👽️ 🖖
We’re hoping we can spice up your Monday with the latest developments in the space business. Let’s get it!
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Firefly Aerospace is taking a huge leap forward in the space race with it’s recent acquisition of Spaceflight Inc.
Firefly Aerospace is an American private aerospace firm based in Cedar Park, Texas, and has been steadily making waves in the space industry with its development of commercial launch vehicles. Fresh off a $75 million Series A investment round in May 2021, led by DADA Holdings, Firefly is trying to become the FedEx for space. They provide launch services for commercial customers who aim to send their light payloads, such as satellites or scientific instruments, into orbit. To ensure the success of these missions, Firefly is largely ramping up the production of its small-lift vehicle, Alpha, and is also developing a medium launch vehicle in collaboration with Northrop Grumman.
Then there’s Spaceflight Inc. The company has built an experienced team of space chauffeurs having launched 471 spacecraft payloads and currently service 32 countries. In 2020, Firefly signed a launch services agreement with Spaceflight Inc. to launch payloads on the Firefly Alpha rocket, and have since had a history of close collaboration. Fast-forward to 2022, Firefly Aerospace successfully reached orbit and deployed customer payloads with its Alpha rocket - proving to investors and customers its ability to deliver on its promises.
The relationship between Firefly and Spaceflight has now entered a new era. This acquisition is a game-changer, promising to substantially bolster Firefly's on-orbit services, which means everything from refuelling and repairing to inspecting and manipulating spacecraft while in orbit. Firefly plans to leverage Spaceflight Inc.'s extensive experience in mission management, planning, licensing, transport, and launch services.
Firefly knows it’s going to need the expertise and technology it acquired from Spaceflight Inc. to support the company’s ambitions including an upcoming lunar mission with the Blue Ghost lander, and the Space Utility Vehicle. They’re gunning to be the one-stop-shop for commercial customers looking to make their mark in the space business.
The universe is full of mysteries, but none as luminous as the explosion dubbed as the Brightest of All Time (BOAT), or GRB 221009A. This gamma-ray burst (GRB), detected on October 9, 2022, is the brightest and most energetic event of its kind ever recorded, outshining its predecessors by a staggering 70 times. And now, scientists may finally know what made the largest explosion in the universe ever seen by humankind so powerful…
Here's some background: Gamma Ray Bursts (GRBs) usually happen when a big star collapses and morphs into a black hole. Even before the BOAT was spotted, GRBs were already considered the most energetic and violent explosions in the universe, capable of blasting out more energy in a few seconds than our Sun will produce over its entire ten billion-year lifetime. But GRB 221009A wasn't your average GRB. Scientists observed a unique jet structure that was dragging an unusually large amount of stellar material along with it, which might just be why it was so bright and lasted so long.
This jet, which shot out from the falling star, looked like a massive fire hose blasting into space, with the strongest gamma rays streaming from its heart. But the jet from GRB 221009A was weird - it had a narrow core with wider sides that sloped. This type of behaviour has never been seen before.
Scientists were amazed and confused, so they enlisted all of humanity’s most sophisticated telescopes to understand one the universe's most ferocious events.
🐦 Tweet of the Day
It's no bed of roses in the Rosette Nebula! Extremely hot O-type stars produce intense radiation and fierce winds inside the rowdy stellar nursery at the nebula's core. Located roughly 5,000 light-years from Earth, this cosmic rose is about 100 light-years across. #RedRoseDay 🌹 https://t.co/NNMBXn0l1f
🤖 AI Art of the Day
That’s it for today, Earthlings.
Thanks so much for reading. Have a great Monday - and we’ll see you next time! 🧑🚀