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Firefly Aerospace and Xtenti Collaborate to Conduct Responsive Space Demonstration in Support of the NRO

 Aug. 8, 2023

 Firefly Aerospace, Inc.,  announced a new agreement with Xtenti, LLC, an innovative space logistics company, to conduct a responsive space mission with Firefly's orbital vehicle, Elytra, and Xtenti's small satellite dispenser, FANTM-RiDE™.

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. 

"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," said Bill Weber, CEO of Firefly Aerospace. "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."

Upon launching on Alpha, Firefly's Elytra vehicle will utilize the FANTM-RiDE dispenser to first deploy commercial rideshare payloads in Sun-Synchronous Orbit, 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.

"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," said dan Lim, President and CEO of Xtenti. "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."

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.



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